Then, an industrial and population boom was in full swing and pollutants often flowed unchecked into lakes, rivers, and bays.
Congress recognized the need for states to cooperate in the fight against this growing threat. In 1947 Congress passed legislation allowing for the formation of interstate water pollution control commissions.
Connecticut, Rhode Island, and Massachusetts responded immediately by forming NEIWPCC (originally called the New England Interstate Water Pollution Control Commission). Vermont, Maine, New Hampshire, and New York State joined shortly thereafter.
The member states endowed NEIWPCC with responsibilities, power, jurisdiction, and financial support.
NEIWPCC originally focused on creating water quality standards and classifications for interstate waters in the region. This led naturally to issues surrounding wastewater treatment.
Our focus on wastewater continues to this day, but NEIWPCC’s role has grown considerably.
In the late 1960s and early 1970s, federal and state legislative changes, coupled with the growing complexity of water quality issues, spurred NEIWPCC to take on a broader role in serving our member states’ interests.
In 1969, NEIWPCC created the New England Regional Wastewater Institute (NERWI), a training school for wastewater treatment plant operators. The school was located on the campus of the Southern Maine Vocational Technical Institute in South Portland, Maine.
After the passage of the federal Clean Water Act in 1972, NEIWPCC again expanded activities to include public outreach and an even greater emphasis on environmental training and assistance.
In recent decades, our role has grown in response to the priorities of our member states. NEIWPCC’s programs today include the following areas:
—and many other projects.
We also represents the views of our member states about proposed regulatory changes, using written communications and congressional testimony.
In 1998, NERWI discontinued operations, but NEIWPCC has maintained a firm commitment to training. Today we offer a diverse range of courses at locations throughout our member states. NEIWPCC also manages Maine’s Joint Environmental Training Coordinating Committee.
From 2012 to 2018, the Commission managed and advised another interstate compact, the Interstate Environmental Commission District.
NEIWPCC continues to evolve as we respond to ever-changing water issues. Over the years, we have tapped the region’s considerable expertise, forged new partnerships, and explored fresh sources of funding. NEIWPCC remains flexible and adaptive so that we can address emerging issues in an efficient, effective manner and remain at the forefront of water management and protection.