The latest legislative updates from regional water quality associations
Canadian Association Adapts to Changing Restrictions
By Shelley Peters, Executive Director, Canadian Water Quality Association, email@example.com
The hope of all Canadians was that 2021 would be really different from 2020, however, it sure didn’t start out that way. Most provinces were experiencing lockdowns into late February, then a brief relief only to have another wave from COVID-19 take us back to our houses, away from schools and restrictions on many things that we enjoy like going to a movie or concert. There were glimpses of those fun things, but by the end of 2021 and early 2022 restrictions ramped up again.
However, the water treatment professionals in Canada never missed a beat. All Canadian Water Quality Association (CWQA) members kept providing quality water for all as best they could. Like elsewhere in North America, recruiting new staff posed one of the biggest challenges for our members. Anywhere you drive there are roadway signs indicating a company is hiring, so the labor shortage is one of the biggest issues for water professionals.
The battered provinces like British Columbia, with a record number of forest fires, record rainfall through atmospheric rivers and temperatures significantly colder with snow falls higher than usual, are feeling the effects of climate change. CWQA members are assisting those in the affected areas by assessing the water treatment equipment and ensuring that it is safe for use. The prairies had some of the worst drought conditions and some water tables went dry and crops were lost. The central provinces were challenged with trying to rebuild after the lockdowns and trying to desperately find staff. The Maritimes saw boil water advisories and, like the other provinces, felt the pain of trying to get product from the supply chain challenges plaguing the industry.
Contaminated water sources were the focus for Iqaluit, Nunavut, where a historic fuel spill beside the water treatment plant caused undrinkable water for all residents for months. Meanwhile another first nation, Shoal Lake, was finally able to lift a 24 year boil water advisory. The CWQA members are ready to assist wherever they can to lift more boil water advisories, or at the very least provide equipment like ultra violet and absolute filters to limit the risk.
Training dominated once again with the ability to offer webinars and education classes online. Several of our member companies assisted in delivering great educational value to the CWQA members. A big thank you to all those that volunteered their time. In 2022, new ways to educate in water treatment are coming and as some of the provinces are reviewing the trades and the requirements for installing, the CWQA will continue to showcase the good work that our members do.
Eastern Association Builds Relationships
By Marianne Metzger, Executive Director, Eastern Water Quality Association, firstname.lastname@example.org
While the pandemic continues to wreak havoc with trade shows and events being canceled due to high numbers of COVID cases across the country, the Eastern Water Quality Association (EWQA) is pressing on with our efforts to meet in person for all the events we have planned for 2022, as there is nothing that can replace face to face training and networking. There are two spring training events planned, with one in Marlborough, MA to be held on March 10th and the second one in Hagerstown, MD to be held on May 19th. There will also be our second annual summer BBQ to be held sometime in July and the Fall Trade Show and Convention to be held September 21-23rd in Wilkes-Barre, PA at the Mohegan Sun Poconos. While we feel strongly that face to face events are necessary, we will continue to follow all state and local requirements to maintain the safety of our members and participants.
Since the EWQA covers 12 states within our territory, it is a vast area to cover, especially when monitoring legislative issues that affect our industry. This past summer, the EWQA held the first annual Summer BBQ at the newly built Resintech manufacturing plant. The current mayor of Camden, New Jersey, and the former Governor of New Jersey, James Florio were both invited to address the attendees. The Summer BBQ is a new event that the EWQA will continue to hold each year as a way of creating awareness of the legislative issues facing our industry and raising money for our scholarship fund. Preliminary plans for the 2022 Summer BBQ include the WQA’s Government Affair department to teach a class on how to be an effective advocate to local and state legislators.
Furthermore, plans for 2022 include the formation of a legislative committee that will meet on a regular basis to review upcoming legislation occurring in the EWQA territory and make recommendations on action needed. This committee will work closely with the WQA’s Government Affairs department on action plans. Specifically, this committee will be focusing efforts on the state of Pennsylvania given that a majority of EWQA members are in PA. Additionally, there are talks in the works to visit the Pennsylvania state capitol to begin to making contact and building relationships with the legislators.
Texas Association Continues Legislative Efforts
By Daina Grace, Executive Director, Texas Water Quality Association, email@example.com
I am happy to say that at this time it is quiet on the Austin front. Texas is currently in an off-session year at the Capitol, but that doesn’t mean that the Texas Water Quality Association (TWQA) and its Legislative efforts are non-existent. TWQA’s Legislative Consultant, Marc Rodriguez, and the Board will work to build relations with key Legislators during this off-session year.
We feel that it is important to meet with Legislators or their staffers at the Capitol, when possible, to distribute the TWQA Association Profile and put a face to the Association’s name. The January 2022 Board of Directors meeting was set to be held at the Capitol; however, we received notice that it was closed down to groups due to COVID restrictions.
We are pleased to report that the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) is permanently approving online training for the Water Treatment Specialist (WTS) program. The online platform has been well received by participants, as well as TWQA training instructors. TWQA will offer in-person training for the WTS required courses each year at its annual convention.
TWQA’s Legal and Governmental Affairs Committee, co-chaired by Bob Boerner and Don McGhee, continues to monitor issues affecting dealers in Texas: backflow requirements, recognition of the WTS license by municipalities and addressing hurdles for first time licensees. Special thanks to committee members David Davies and Bob Ruhstorfer for their continuous work on the backflow issues being addressed in the Houston area. We will continue to work on each of these issues and report accordingly.
As a reminder, our members initially joined together to secure their right to install water treatment equipment professionally and without excessive cost to the consumer. We continue to work today as a unified entity, even if we are competitors in the marketplace, to provide a well-trained, professional workforce that benefits not only our Association members, but all citizens in the state of Texas.
See y'all at the 49th annual TWQA Convention & Exposition being held July 25 – 28, 2022 in Frisco, Texas.
To submit additional questions, comments or future regional updates, please email the WQP editorial team at firstname.lastname@example.org.