Environmental Protection

WEF, Recycling Association Partner for Shared Vision

The Water Environment Federation (WEF) and the National Onsite Wastewater Recycling Association (NOWRA), a not-for-profit organization that educates and represents the decentralized systems and onsite wastewater treatment profession, have agreed to closely collaborate and promote a shared vision of an integrated and holistic approach to water, stormwater, and wastewater management over the next three years.

The new partnership will take effect on Feb. 1.

Currently, one-quarter of the U.S. population and one-third of all new residential and commercial development use decentralized systems for wastewater treatment. Although the water and wastewater sector is heavily segmented, there is a growing consensus within the sector that water and wastewater management strategies must be integrated and various approaches considered in order to meet the evolving needs of the public and address emerging environmental challenges. To that end, leaders from both WEF and NOWRA have agreed that a strategic partnership can leverage their respective resources and capabilities to advance their mutual goals and interests.

“WEF has long been the go-to source of information for centralized wastewater treatment training and education and NOWRA is the acknowledged leader for decentralized approaches,” said WEF President Paul Freedman. “While these two approaches haven’t been easily reconciled in the past, this strategic partnership demonstrates both organizations’ interest in collaboration with a view toward a common goal of a cleaner global water environment.”

WEF and NOWRA will explore collaboration on educational events; increased content and options for distance learning; joint publications; and offering more varied perspectives about water quality issues to their respective members. In addition, they will work closely to share association management resources to help direct emphasis to mission critical activities. Part of this special relationship will include NOWRA staff and offices relocating to WEF’s Alexandria, Va.-based headquarters in the coming weeks.

“WEF has offered NOWRA an opportunity for an office in the Washington, D.C.-area and a chance to combine forces to share our knowledge of the decentralized systems and onsite wastewater treatment profession with their experience as a global organization,” said NOWRA President Tom Groves. “After investigating partnership options, the NOWRA Board decided that WEF provides us with the most viable option for partnership and the Washington location allows us to be more responsive to and involved in legislative actions related to the field.”

Groves also believes this partnership will help to acknowledge the need for and the importance of decentralized approaches in solving wastewater treatment problems in situations where traditional sewerage is challenging. “We are excited about the opportunity to increase awareness and promote our sector to state and federal institutions as well as the engineering community who are less familiar with the range of institutional and technical options our members offer to help sustain North America’s wastewater infrastructure.”

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