Water Resource Protection
Since its formation more than six decades ago, NEIWPCC has worked steadfastly to assist its member states in protecting, managing, and preserving their water resources. Through a multitude of efforts, the Commission has promoted coordination and collaboration between the states’ water resource agencies and other stakeholders, including federal agencies, academic institutions, and industry. Since 2008, these efforts have fallen under the umbrella of NEIWPCC’s newest division, Water Resource Protection, which encompasses the Commission’s work in a variety of arenas.
Underground storage tanks or USTs have been a focus at the Commission since 1984, when NEIWPCC, EPA, the states, tribes, and other partners began working together to prevent, detect, and clean up leaks from the tanks, whose contents can seep into soil and contaminate groundwater. NEIWPCC has long been a sponsor of the National Tanks Conference and Exposition, and in 2006, the Commission took on the lead role for developing and coordinating the event, which is widely recognized as the place for the nation’s UST community to focus on progress and priorities. The 2010 edition of the conference, held in Boston in September, was widely praised as the most successful yet. NEIWPCC also coordinates an UST, LUST, and State Fund Workgroup; publishes LUSTLine, a widely read national bulletin on tanks issues; and is providing critical assistance to member states working to develop federally required training programs for UST owners and operators. NEIWPCC is also working with state and EPA staff to develop and provide UST inspector training opportunities for state programs nationwide.
NEIWPCC’s Water Resource Protection staff also work on two issues that as little as 15 years ago were on few people’s agendas—climate change, and pharmaceuticals and personal care products or PPCPs. Now, both issues are priorities for our member states. To address the states’ growing concerns about PPCPs in the environment, NEIWPCC coordinates a PPCP Workgroup involving state, federal, and academic staff; and the Commission lead the development of the 2011 Northeast Water Science Forum, which examined the latest science on PPCP management. In the climate change arena, NEIWPCC’s extensive efforts include hosting a Climate Change Workgroup and working with our member states to develop a regional climate change monitoring strategy.
Since 1994, NEIWPCC has worked closely with its states’ drinking water programs to foster regional cooperation and to support initiatives addressing the requirements of the Safe Drinking Water Act. Much of this work is coordinated through NEIWPCC’s Drinking Water Workgroup and the Groundwater/Source Water Protection Workgroup, both of which meet regularly. The Water Resource Protection division also oversees our partnership with the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, through which NEIWPCC provides staff and funding to programs that work to protect, conserve, restore, and enhance the Hudson River and its estuary.