Clean Watersheds Needs Survey – 2004 Report to Congress & 2008 Survey Advancements

The Clean Watersheds Needs Survey (CWNS) 2004 Report to Congress (RtC) documents the nation’s needs for improving and protecting wastewater quality and wastewater-related public health.

This paper presents the major qualitative findings of the CWNS 2004 RtC, including: (1) a comparison of needs distribution by category between the CWNS 2000 RtC and the CWNS 2004 RtC; (2) the levels of CWNS 2004 needs reporting by category; and (3) highlights of CWNS 2004 needs in small communities and various geographic regions of the country.

This paper also summarizes main goals for advancing CWNS for the 2008 survey: (1) maximizing efficiency and quality of data collection efforts by providing an automated, webbased option (in addition to the current paper-based process) for states to collect data from local communities; (2) minimizing state and local data collection and submission efforts by sharing data between other EPA data systems and the CWNS data entry system; and (3) improving data utility by updating the CWNS data suite and enhancing internet methods for accessing and using CWNS data.

The Clean Watersheds Needs Survey (CWNS) 2004 Report to Congress documents needs for wastewater treatment and nonpoint source (NPS) pollution control projects to meet the nation’s water quality and wastewater-related public health goals.

In addition to providing Congress and state legislatures with information to assist budgeting efforts, objectives for the CWNS 2004 included collecting and presenting CWNS data (including facilities’ populations served, flows, and treatment technologies) on the internet to optimize data utility for environmental professionals, private industry, and the public. Data uses include support for water discharge permit writing, waste load allocation efforts, measurement of environmental progress, academic research, and delivery of information to the public.

The CWNS - a collaborative effort between states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico (collectively referred to as “States” for the remainder of this paper) and EPA – is required by section 516 of the Clean Water Act (CWA). EPA and the States define a need as a project, with associated costs, that addresses a water quality or wastewater- related public health problem. To be included in the CWNS 2004 as a documented need, a need must have existed as of January 1, 2004 and must have met documentation criteria. These criteria include specifying locations and descriptions of water quality or wastewater-related public health problems as well as specifying site-specific pollution abatement measures with detailed cost information.

As of the June 8, 2006 deadline for submission of manuscripts for WEFTEC 2006, the CWNS 2004 Report had not been approved by the U.S. Office of Management and Budget and delivered to Congress. Therefore, CWNS 2004 financial figures are not included in the Findings section. Instead, financial figures from CWNS 2000 are presented along with percentage distribution of needs across categories for CWNS 2004. Qualitative descriptions of other significant CWNS 2004 findings are also presented.

If, as expected, the Report is delivered to Congress prior to WEFTEC 2006, financial figures from CWNS 2004 will be included in session presentation materials.

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