ACWA's 2011 Regulatory Summit Presentations

Session 1: “Water & Energy Integrated Smart-Meter Program: Is It Right For Your Agency?”

This program will explore two case studies of agencies that have or are in the process of deploying integrated waterand- energy smart-meters. The panel will discuss the details of implementing a smart-meter program, including the technical aspects, public safety, public relations and the outreach that is necessary to make each program a success. The panel will also explore what should be taken into consideration when deciding whether or not it’s right for the agency, how to develop the right implementation strategy, and finally the benefits of real-time water-and-energy information for water management.


Session 2: “How Low Can We Go? Detection Limits and their Role in Water Quality Compliance”

Since the passage of the Safe Drinking Water Act nearly 40 years ago, the ability to detect contaminants in drinking water has dramatically improved, with many detection limits and drinking water standards now in the part per billion or even part per trillion levels. However, as the industry continues to explore the idea of regulating contaminants at trace levels, many issues arise. What is the interaction between instrumentation and methods improvements versus detection limits? Should something be regulated just because it can be newly measured? What is the role of the consumer and their perception of what level constitutes a public health hazard? How should the scientific variability of results at such low levels be incorporated into the setting of detection limits? Allison Mackenzie, CEO of E.S. Babcock & Sons, Inc. Environmental Laboratories, will answer these questions and more in a thought provoking session about the future of detection limits in California water quality compliance. 


Keynote Lunch Presentation

Session 3: “Innovative Rate Designs: Balancing Conservation Objectives with Revenue Stability Demands” 

As water agencies and communities embrace water conservation measures that are intended to enhance local supplies and improve water supply reliability, many water agencies are waking up to cold economic truth: the less water they provide to their ratepayers, the less revenues for their agency. Worse still, the less revenues water agencies receive, the less money they will have to invest in critical infrastructure necessary to continue to deliver clean water to the homes and businesses they serve. In order to address this problem, many agencies have implemented a wholesale redesign of their rate structures. This program will feature water agency case studies that are addressing this delicate balancing act with innovative rate design methods. 

Session 4: “What’s in the Beaker? The Increasing Importance of your Water Quality Laboratory to Water System Management”

Water agencies have long relied on laboratory services to assess the quality of their water supplies. However, the relationship between today’s water quality laboratory and the successful operations of a California water system is more important, and complex, than ever. During this session staff from an in-house lab and a contract laboratory will discuss the critical role a laboratory plays in water system management, the challenges that arise with increasingly sophisticated infrastructure and regulatory requirements, and how a water agency can maximize laboratory resources to help fulfill its mission of protecting public health and providing a safe and reliable water supply. 


Session 5: “Toxicity Testing: It’s Role In Water Quality Regulation and Emerging Compliance Challenges of a new Statewide Policy”

Although toxicity testing has been a widely used tool for water quality assessment, the State is currently proposing a new “Policy for Toxicity Assessment and Control” that would include statewide numeric toxicity objectives, a new statistical method of data analysis, standardized monitoring and reporting requirements, and provisions for anti-degradation analysis and compliance determination. This Policy will supersede current provisions in the State Implementation Plan and be used in permits in all regions of the state. Philip J. Markle, Environmental Scientist with Sanitation Districts of Los Angeles County, will give the technical and regulatory background for toxicity testing and highlight some of the significant technical and policy challenges posed by proposed new Toxicity Policy.

Session 6: “Hexavalent Chromium Mode of Action Research Program: Results are In…”

Deborah Proctor, Principal Health Scientist with ToxStrategies, will present results of the recently completed Hexavalent Chromium (Cr(VI)) Mode of Action (MOA) Research Studies project, designed to investigate the carcinogenicity and toxicokinetics of Cr(VI) from drinking water exposure. This research project has been on-going for the past two years and will ultimately result in twelve peer-reviewed scientific publications. This cutting-edge research project includes target tissue biochemistry, histopathology, and highly advanced genomic investigations to understand why Cr(VI) causes cancer in rodents and the dose-response for key events leading to tumor formation. Importantly, these studies address whether carcinogenicity at high doses in rodents is relevant to humans exposures at environmentally-relevant levels. Stomach reduction rate and capacity studies have been used to develop pharmacokinetic models of mice, rats and humans which allow risk assessors to extrapolate across dose and between species without the need to rely on default assumptions. The finding from these studies are being used to inform the quantitative cancer risk assessment for Cr(VI) at relevant human exposures.


“Taking Control of the Water Quality Message”

Your agency has a top notch water quality program...state of the art treatment and highly trained staff. Without notice, one story or a third party “study” denouncing the safety of your water supplies can overshadow all of your efforts. Sound familiar? Unfortunately, this is all too common the scenario. While water agencies should be THE source on questions related to the safety of water supplies in their communities, they are often not the source that media and community leaders turn to first. How does an agency change this scenario? This program will provide tips for technical staff when responding to media or consumer questions and focus on how to PROACTIVELY manage communications related to the real risks surrounding water quality issues.