Compliance News

The recently released EPA website Bipartisan Infrastructure Law Resources for Drinking Water is a helpful regulations and compliance cache for states and water systems on implementation of the $50 billion Bipartisan Infrastructure Law.

The site features drinking water guidance on:

Noteworthy is the EPA’s emphasis on DAC with materials such as DWSRF Disadvantaged Community Definitions: A Reference for States, which the agency says “is intended to be a resource for State DWSRF programs that want to update their DAC definitions.” However, other water systems may find the reference a useful guide. The agency also addresses water affordability and environmental justice, offering an Environmental Justice Mapping and Screening Tool.

In other environmental updates, we highlight the following in our Compliance News:

Ask an Expert: Water stewardship and resilience

BC’s Water Stewardship Leader Dr. Carla De Las Casas shares insight into how public and private water systems are setting and approaching water commitments as part of their Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) goals. Read “Ask an Expert”

Proposed changes: 401 CWA Water Quality Certification Rule

The EPA is proposing a rule to support a predictable, efficient, stable, and transparent water quality certification process under Clean Water Act (CWA) section 401.

SCOTUS limits EPA CAA authority

A recent Supreme Court decision severely limits the EPA’s authority under the Clean Air Act (CAA) to set greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions standards for existing power plants.

Ask an Expert: Water stewardship and resilience

In this month’s feature, BC expert Dr. Carla De Las Casas shares insight into how public and private water systems are setting and approaching water commitments as part of their Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) goals.

Question: With increased focus on ESG commitments and heightened concerns over water availability, what are you seeing in terms of water stewardship and resilience?

Answer: Many of our public and private sector clients are setting commitments to address water risks and to amplify their water stewardship efforts in surrounding communities and watersheds as part of their focus on ESG. Dr. Carla De Las Casas is Brown and Caldwell’s Water Stewardship Leader based in California Clients who operate in water scarce regions or in areas affected more directly by climate impacts are especially focused on water.

The water commitments often reflect the operational use of water by our clients, the value of water management to their stakeholders and customers, and the importance of water to their organization’s mission. Commitments can be “inside the fence” (facility optimization), “outside the fence” (beyond the facility and into the watershed and community), or a combination of the two.

Clients are at various stages of their water commitment process. Some have set and met certain commitments while others are just beginning the process of quantifying their water footprints, identifying their goals, and planning how to reach them. The shift to integrate sustainability reporting into annual financial reporting is certainly a driver for many private sector clients. However, drivers across sectors vary widely: stakeholder or investor pressure, climate change impacts, or simply the desire to do the right thing for their employees, communities, and the planet.

There are three key elements that clients are focusing on as they set and work towards their water commitments and goals.

  • Water stewardship: Clients are approaching their organization’s water use and management with social, cultural, and environmental goals that adapt for the future. They are telling their “water story” by connecting water use to their product, operations, customers, and ambitions in a way that makes reporting on success valuable to their investors and stakeholders.
  • Watershed connections: For many, “outside the fence” goals in watersheds and communities, rely on effective stakeholder understanding and collaboration for success. Because of our involvement with clients in both the public and private sector, Brown and Caldwell serves as a bridge to identify links between corporate and community needs, and watershed-specific water constraints as well as an appreciation for climate and evolving impacts to the watershed.
  • Facility optimization: Taking a systematic approach to reaching “inside the fence” goals through projects at the facility level has led to a reduction in freshwater demand and the optimization of water use for clients often with quantitative, measurable outcomes. Additionally, improvements in water efficiency and quality can save money, build resilience, and protect the legal and social license to operate.

About the experts

Meghan Krishnayya, Indianapolis, is the Director of Technical Practices for Brown and Caldwell, with 25 years of experience in municipal and industrial markets. She guides strategies to deliver client value through differentiated technical solutions and expertise, with a personal passion around compliance; permitting; and Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) goals.

Dr. Carla De Las Casas is Brown and Caldwell’s Water Stewardship Leader based in California. She is a professional engineer with over 15 years of experience in water treatment and reuse. She leads with a strong focus on results and a personal interest in delivering projects that drive meaningful water stewardship action.

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