WEF, EPA, Organizations Renew MOU for Decentralized Management

The Water Environment Federation (WEF) joined the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and 13 water quality organizations in renewing a commitment to improving national decentralized wastewater treatment system performance by signing the memorandum of understanding (MOU) for decentralized wastewater management recently.

This new MOU will continue the efforts begun under the original 2005 agreement that worked to improve wastewater treatment for 25 million existing homes and a third of all new development nationwide using onsite/decentralized wastewater systems. The goals of the new agreement include strengthening external partnerships; improving decentralized wastewater treatment system performance through improved practitioner competency, management practices, research and technology transfer; improving accountability, control, and oversight through enhanced state, tribal, and local program implementation; improving local decision making through improved public awareness, education programs, and information materials; and supporting the principles outlined in the "Voluntary Management Guidelines and Management Handbook for Decentralized Systems" developed by EPA's Office of Wastewater Management.

Additionally, MOU partners will work to advance the awareness of decentralized systems as potential resources for addressing the infrastructure challenges of centralized systems, and for providing opportunities to implement innovative technologies, develop water scarcity strategies, and implement long-term sustainability initiatives in urban and rural settings.

"Decentralization plays an important role in the maintenance of public health and the global water environment," said WEF Executive Director Bill Bertera. "This agreement will allow WEF to utilize its expertise to establish and promote widespread adoption of best practices with regards to the design, operation, maintenance, and management of these systems and assist water quality professionals with selecting the most appropriate wastewater management option for their specific situation."

WEF plans to meet MOU goals by collaborating with the other organizations through an array of educational vehicles including workshops, conferences, Webcasts, training courses, and seminars as well as technical and educational articles placed in publications and newsletters.

The other signatory organizations are the Consortium of Institutes for Decentralized Wastewater Treatment, National Association of Towns and Townships, National Association of Wastewater Transporters, Inc., National Environmental Health Association, National Environmental Services Center, National Onsite Wastewater Recycling Association, Inc., Rural Community Assistance Partnership, Inc., Association of State and Interstate Water Pollution Control Administrators, Groundwater Protection Council, State Onsite Regulators Alliance, Water Environment Research Foundation, Association of State Drinking Water Administrators, and the Association of State and Territorial Health Organizations.