State Policy, State of the Industry, A New Role for COWA!
Call it the right place at the right time, or call it hard work and diligence, COWA has become a strong Partner in the implementation of the new California Onsite Wastewater Policy. In this publication you will learn more about COWA’s involvement with - Training State and Regional Board staff - Working with CCDEH* developing LAMP** and Public Education workshops. - New education and training programs to help raise the professional bar in CA.
* California Conference of Directors of Environmental Health
** Local Agency Management Plan
A New Era For COWA
Looking to the future, COWA Board and staff have revisited the COWA Vision. Herein are our thoughts we share with Members and Associates seeking your support and involvement.
An Industry in Transition
“Change, a small word with a big meaning” words of wisdom from COWA President, Mark Adams.
Modern civilization has experienced a number of historical integrated transitions in energy, communications and transportation. While there have been significant advancements in water resource management, only recently has it become clear that resource recovery will play an important role in a sustainable future. In what some are referring to as the “Data Era,” rapid developments in distributed energy and water, information transfer, smart grid management, alternative fuels and resource recovery supporting net energy neutrality offer tremendous opportunities for job creation. These developments align with the elements of sustainability; economical sustainability, environmental sustainability and societal sustainability, coupled with the benefits to community health, community planning and property values.
A Role for COWA
While the onsite industry in general is not yet embracing this transition, the centralized water and wastewater industry is giving it their full attention. Their research is very pertinent to the decentralized option as well and we are near the time when our mutual interests will merge. This will either offer opportunities for public private partnerships or shift the momentum towards an expansion of the public management model. Will we step up to the challenge?
COWA has been fortunate to have access to various national training products and has established a strong OWTS educational program in California and beyond. We have become a significant contributor to the training and continuing education needs of regulators, industry practitioners, outside business interests and system users. We believe it is time to take our education and training program to the next level. With our visionary leadership, professional training team and national partners, we feel we are positioned to team up with other water resource related organizations to develop an unprecedented curriculum for advancement of the distributed water option.
When we consider the new “distributed water” concept we need to look at the integration of all onsite water resources. Groundwater, greywater, rainwater, stormwater and wastewater are pieces of distributed water. Many groups are expanding and promoting individual segments of this distributed water concept. From these individual efforts, we have brought forth natural processes, technologies, online monitoring and management tools, that when combined with the state and federal governments’ focus on green infrastructure, leads to the change proposed for our organization.
We believe it is now time to expand our focus on conservation and begin the discussion on direct reuse and resource recovery. If it is happening on the larger municipal level, it is possible on the smaller individual level. This approach has been proven by the many small scale advanced treatment technologies that mimic long time centralized practices. We believe there is enough activity in these occurring globally that COWA can introduce proven concepts into our educational program that will change the conversation from a far out vision to goals for the not so distant future. We offer this expanded vision seeking your support and involvement. COWA is a membership and participation driven organization. We encourage members to join the team and help COWA adapt to the changing world around us.