MCWRS offers our thanks to all our members and partner organizations for your continued support in 2015. It was an exciting year full of successes and exciting changes for the Coalition. We’re taking a look back at the year’s accomplishments.
The Coalition kicked off 2015 by submitting a comment letter to EPA Region 1, raising the alarm on the Draft Massachusetts MS4 General Permit. The draft permit raised a number of concerns for MCWRS member communities. MCWRS was pleased to see its sentiments were shared by MassDEP and the Massachusetts Municipal Association, among others.
The Coalition’s 6th Annual Water Resources Strategies Symposium in May was a major success! The event attracted over 100 participants and featured many prominent speakers, including Secretary Matthew A. Beaton and Undersecretary Ned Bartlett from the Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs and Deputy Commissioner Beth Card from MassDEP. Commissioner Marty Suuberg was also in attendance. At the Symposium, MCWRS presented the 2015 Joseph J. Superneau Leadership Award to Mark Young, Executive Director of the Lowell Regional Wastewater Utility.
In September, the Coalition submitted a comment letter on the MA Clean Water Trust’s Draft Affordability Calculation, highlighting several conditions that need further review. We encouraged the Trust to adjust the calculation’s income, population, and employment rate factors to more accurately capture the needs of communities.
MCWRS members participated on advisory committees that directly impact communities. Tom Walsh, Upper Blackstone Water Pollution Abatement District, was appointed to the MassDEP Advisory Committee on NPDES Authorization. MCWRS Vice President and Vice Chair Jane Madden continues to participate in MassDEP’s Executive Order 562 Advisory Committee.
The Coalition kicked off an initiative that’s new this year – hosting a free workshop in conjunction with our quarterly Board meetings. The September workshop focused on South Coast water resources issues and was held at the New Bedford Wastewater Treatment Plant. Topics included how EPA’s NPDES phosphorus reporting requirements impact communities’ ability to comply with permits, and an update on Brockton’s wastewater work related to a consent order. The December workshop featured presentations from the Springfield Water and Sewer Commission on its Integrated Plan and blending, and from MassDEP on its development of state water quality standards. MassDEP also updated attendees on the agency’s efforts to assume primacy in NPDES permitting.
The MCWRS Board of Directors welcomed three new directors for Fiscal Year 2016: David Michelsen, South Essex Sewerage District; Kent Nichols, Weston & Sampson; and Vonnie Reis, Town of Milford. All officers were reelected to their positions: President and Chairman Philip D. Guerin, Executive Vice President and Vice Chair Jane Madden, Treasurer Cheri Cousens, and Secretary Bob Ward.
We welcomed new members in 2015 who joined for the fiscal year 2016, including the City of Brockton and Barnes & Thornburg. We’re only halfway through the fiscal year, so there’s still time for you to join!
As always, the Coalition published its monthly newsletter, which informs members of the latest news in the Massachusetts and New England water resources industry. Below are some highlights.
- In January, MCWRS informed its members of EPA’s new Water Infrastructure and Resiliency Finance Center.
- The March edition covered the Cape Cod Commission’s two-day summit in which it presented its updated Section 208 Water Quality Plan.
- We notified our members when MassDEP established two new offices for municipal partnerships and permit and regulatory ombudsman in the April.
- In July, MCWRS started offering a monthly poll in its newsletter, to better understand its members’ views on key issues, such as primacy.
- The October newsletter featured an article about waterway pollution grants awarded to the Town of Milford and Town of Franklin, both MCWRS members.
The Coalition looks forward to more events and continued progress in 2016. Find our booth at the MMA Trade Show in Boston on January 22, and mark your calendar for the 7th Annual Water Resources Strategies Symposium on May 11 at the Marriott Courtyard Boston Marlborough.