Summer 2009

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Interstate Water Report

the e-mail newsletter of the New England Interstate Water Pollution
Control Commission, publishers of the Interstate Water Report

Welcome to the debut edition of NEIWPCC’s new quarterly e-mail newsletter, iWR. We are excited about this fresh way to deliver timely news and information about water and wastewater issues. This e-mail version is designed to complement our printed newsletter, IWR, in which we will continue to feature articles with in-depth analysis and reporting. We’d like to hear what you think! Use this link to e-mail your comments and suggestions.

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Signs of Progress on “Old” Problem

While many areas across the country suffer from problems caused by aging drinking water and wastewater infrastructure, the issue is a particular concern in the Northeast, where old cities are serviced by deteriorating systems. Thankfully, all the talk about the issue is finally turning into action. Funds provided through the federal stimulus package are allowing a number of key water infrastructure projects in our region to move forward. And there is hope for more: bills that would provide multi-billion dollar infusions into the Clean Water and Drinking Water State Revolving Funds are under serious consideration in the U.S. House and Senate. Washington is also taking a close look at establishing a clean water trust fund. Read NEIWPCC Executive Director Ron Poltak’s analysis of the latest trust fund and budget developments in Washington.

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Man of Action: A Talk With Jan Schlichtmann

If you’ve read A Civil Action, Jan Schlichtmann is one lawyer who needs no introduction. The 1995 book chronicled Schlichtmann’s obsessive, dramatic pursuit of a major settlement in his lawsuit against companies accused of contaminating drinking water in Woburn, Mass. The book made Schlichtmann famous—and that fame grew when John Travolta played Schlichtmann in the 1998 movie based on the book. (The two men are seen above in a photo taken at the movie’s premiere in Boston.) Since the Woburn case, Schlichtmann has continued to practice law from his office in Beverly, Mass., occasionally engaging in high-profile legal battles such as a recent lawsuit against the Massachusetts Turnpike Authority for using turnpike tolls to finance Boston’s Big Dig project. Given his central role in perhaps the most well known water contamination case in U.S. history, we figured Schlichtmann would have some interesting things to say on water issues and resolving water conflicts. We were right. Read the iWR interview with Jan Schlichtmann.

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Award Season

The spring of 2009 was a season of accolades for several members of NEIWPCC’s staff. At the National Clean Water Policy Forum Awards Ceremony in Washington, D.C., on May 4, NEIWPCC Executive Director Ron Poltak (center, in photo) received a Public Service Award from the National Association of Clean Water Agencies. The award recognizes officials who have displayed particular and continuing awareness of the challenges facing the clean water community.

At a ceremony in Boston on April 22, NEIWPCC Director of Water Quality Programs Beth Card (right) and NEIWPCC Environmental Analyst Susy King (left) received 2009 Environmental Merit Awards from EPA New England for leading the development of the Northeast Regional Mercury Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL). The EPA awards honor those who have shown particular ingenuity and commitment in their efforts to preserve the region's environment. More details on these awards and many other stories are in the NEIWPCC newsroom.