During February, the Water Environment Federation (WEF; Alexandria, Va.) and other key stakeholders participated in a series of five U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) workshops on an integrated planning framework for municipal wastewater and stormwater. The purpose of EPA’s proposed framework is to allow municipalities to balance Clean Water Act requirements by prioritizing water quality issues while considering local financial capabilities.

Details on the framework were limited, as comments from the meeting will be used to shape the document. WEF stressed that the framework should support a broad, holistic watershed approach to meeting Clean Water Act goals in a prioritized way that advances cost-effectiveness, affordability, sustainability, and innovation. WEF favored reliance on a National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System permit approach to implementation rather than new enforcement actions. WEF also asked EPA to consider including drinking water infrastructure needs in the framework.  EPA anticipates that the agency will issue a final framework by the end of March. EPA also will make a small amount of money available for municipalities, and expects to issue a call for applications shortly.