May 2023 Committee Updates
(progress on 2023 Work Plans)
Goal: Engaged Communities
At Jersey Water Works (JWW), one of our goals is to actively engage stakeholders in a meaningful process to influence decision-making and ensure that all people have access to reliable drinking water, wastewater, and stormwater infrastructure. Committees advance that goal in the following ways:
- The Asset Management and Finance committee (AM&F) submitted Comments on SFY24 Drinking Water and Clean Water Intended Use Plans
- The Combined Sewer Overflow (CSO) committee is drafting their comments for the North Hudson Sewerage Authority draft CSO permits and submitted comments on Guttenberg/North Bergen Municipal Utility Authority Draft Combined Sewer Overflow Permits.
- The Lead Service Line (LSL) Implementation Workgroup Co-Chairs, Mike Furrey and Richard Calbi, submitted comments to DCA on policies affecting administrative fees for road work projects like LSL replacement.
- In March 2023, the Senate reflected on the recommendations from the 2021 childcare facilities report and 2019 lead in drinking water report in their legislation.
- The Stormwater Utility subcommittee is hosting five one-hour-long office hour sessions where experts will provide a town-hall style opportunity for NJ utility leaders, stormwater managers, municipal administration officials, and elected officials to learn about establishing a sustainable and dedicated stormwater funding mechanism. The sessions will run from June–November, and will include a presentation and time for Q&A.
- Dan Van Abs and Larry Levine, members of the Affordability subcommittee, will be giving a presentation on affordability at the NJ Water Environment Association (NJWEA) conference on May 9.
- JWW is hosting a Technical Assistance (TA) Webinar for Water Utilities Wanting to Apply for Funding, which will take place on Wednesday, May 31, 2023, at 2:00 p.m. The virtual webinar will introduce and review technical assistance programs available in New Jersey for water utilities and municipalities looking to tap into the State Revolving Fund program. The webinar will highlight the TA programs from the following organizations: Environmental Policy Innovation Center (EPIC) and New Jersey Future, Syracuse University Environmental Finance Center, Moonshot Missions, New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (invited), and New Jersey Infrastructure Bank.
- JWW cross-posted a recent blog, From Federal Dollars to State Investment: Understanding Technical Assistance for Water Systems, that provides additional information about TA programs.
- On May 24 from 8:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m., New Jersey Water Association (NJWA) and Jersey Water Works will hold an in-person training event titled Lead Service Line Replacement Financing and Implementation. The event is open and free to attend. Register here. Contact Deandrah Cameron (firstname.lastname@example.org) for more information.
- The Climate Resilience Committee (CR) is developing a roadmap (draft outline) for drinking water and wastewater utilities that have yet to or are just beginning to build resilience against the impacts of climate change. This roadmap will serve as a useful resource. One utility staff member was interviewed, and additional interviews will be scheduled throughout the rest of spring and early summer.
- The Lead Service Line Implementation Working Group is focused on educating and informing people about the replacement of lead service lines. To achieve this goal, they have partnered with Tech-4-Results, a communication consultant, to develop the second edition of the Primer for Mayors and a comprehensive communication and outreach plan.
Goal: Educated Stakeholders
Another goal at JWW is to inform stakeholders about issues and ensure they are knowledgeable about the challenges and the solutions. Committees are advancing that goal in the following ways:
- The CSO committee has joined forces with Sewage Free Streets and River to host two community engagement webinars. These meetings have provided valuable information to members, helping them prepare for the public comment sessions.
- The Lead in Drinking Water Taskforce will host a “Listen & Learn” session on lead in drinking water policy for communities and impacted populations through Lead-Free NJ and in collaboration with members of the Data Advisory Committee working on Jersey WaterCheck.
- The Climate Resilience Committee submitted a proposal for a session on climate resilience for the November League of Municipalities Conference, and are exploring other event opportunities, such as the Association of Environmental Authorities (AEA).
- The Lead Service Line Implementation Workgroup submitted an article on the “Primer for Mayors” to the Spring 2023 Urban Mayors Press.
- The CSO committee is dedicated to expanding the water affordability conversation. Larry Levine, the committee’s co-chair, helped shape the following blog, titled Act Now for Help With Water and Sewer Bills! Access NJ’s Low-Income Household Water Assistance Program (LIHWAP). JWW is spreading awareness about this program through its newsletter, Basecamp, and social media platforms.
- The Green Infrastructure (GI) committee is dedicated to supporting GI champions in spreading information about GI opportunities within their communities. The committee is creating educational materials to help champions inform and guide the local population about GI opportunities. Additionally, the committee is developing an outreach guidance inventory toolkit and have already released two products:
- Rain Garden Facilitator’s Guide (February 7, 2023)
- GI & Climate Change Fact Sheets (February 7, 2023)
- GI members will exhibit at the upcoming Sustainable Jersey Summit.
- GI Committee Co-Chair Rosana Pedra Nobre provided an overview and update on the New York-New Jersey Harbor & Estuary Program’s 2023 commitments.
- GI Committee Member Lindsey Sigmund, the Managing Green Infrastructure program manager at New Jersey Future, presented an overview of the MS4 permit to the Green Infrastructure Committee, MS4 Permit: Watershed Improvement Plan & Public Participation.
- The Climate Resilience Committee is developing a card/handout that highlights the importance of climate resilience. This informational material will be presented at various events, including the NJ Planning & Redevelopment Conference. (CR).
Transparent Water Systems:
JWW also aims to provide information that advances public understanding of utility management and status, using simple metrics. We advance this goal via Jersey WaterCheck (JWC) data dashboard.
- JWW has published a blog post titled “New Jersey’s Capital Investment: A Jersey WaterCheck Data story” to showcase Jersey WaterCheck data.
- The Jersey WaterCheck data dashboard will feature a specialized page focused on lead. To create the page, JWW’s backbone staff is collaborating with the Lead in Drinking Water Taskforce and its Lead Service Line Implementation workgroup to develop the page. This new page will be part of the fourth annual update for JWC, which is set to be released in December.
Water Workforce Task Force:
JWW is pursuing partnerships to advance water workforce development and career pathways.
- The JWW Water Workforce Task Force is collaborating with Hudson County Community College (HCC) to launch an 8-week, 50-hour program in September. This program will provide opportunities for internships, apprenticeships, and entry-level jobs. We partnered with Veolia and NJ Water Association Apprenticeship Program, and are in talks with North Hudson Sewerage Authority. Our aim is to connect with all Hudson County Utilities; we have invited them to learn more about the program and to consider partnering with us. Please email Paula Figueroa-Vega at email@example.com for more information.
- JWW provided a letter of support to HCCC and NJ Water Association for their grant proposal Department of Labor and Workforce Development Pre-Apprenticeship in Career Education (PACE) Program FY23 Round 2.
- JWW is in conversation with NJ Pathway, Rowan College of South Jersey, and NJ Water Association to create a career pathway to be integrated into the NJ Pathway programs.
- The Emerging Water Leaders of Color Leadership Circle is a new program for up-and-coming water professionals. It consists of small learning circles where individuals can share their ideas, experiences, and practices. This initiative aims to enhance participants’ knowledge, skills, and network, providing them with the tools they need to create innovative solutions and explore potential career paths in the water sector. This program is intended to support emerging talent from Black, Indigenous, and People of Color leaders. New Jersey Future received funding from Spring Point for this project, and is working with the backbone staff of Jersey Water Works collaborative and AGN Global LLC, an engineering and leadership firm. The program begins in August, and applications will open in May.
New Jersey Future has the following open positions: Jersey WaterCheck Intern and Policy Manager (backbone staff for the Climate Resilience Committee), learn more here: https://www.njfuture.org/about-njf/employment-rfps/
Learn more about JWW’s Committees:
- Asset Management and Finance Committee (AM&F)
- Climate Resilience Committee (CR)
- Green Infrastructure Committee (GI)
- Combined Sewer Overflow Committee (CSO)
- Lead in Drinking Water Task Force (LIDW)
- Water Workforce Task Force