At WEFTEC 2021, the Water Environment Federation (WEF; Alexandria, Virginia) Stormwater Committee welcomed Mark Doneux and the WEF Stormwater Institute Advisory Committee welcomed Scott Taylor as their 2021-2023 chairs. Taylor and Doneux have volunteered on their respective committees for several years in supplement to their careers at the forefront of stormwater management, leadership, and research.
As the new chairs settle into their roles, they spoke to Stormwater Report about their professional backgrounds as well as their plans and priorities during their leadership terms.
Scott Taylor, WEF Stormwater Institute Advisory Committee
I am looking forward to working with you over the next two years to improve U.S. stormwater programs as well as overall stormwater quality.
The U.S. Municipal Separate Storm Sewer Systems (MS4) program is currently at a crossroads. On the regulatory side, it faces needs to implement numeric standards through total maximum daily loads (TMDLs) and retrofit the built environment with green infrastructure. On the technical side, our tools remain somewhat primitive for removing dissolved compounds from stormwater. Also, the tens of millions of potential pollutants and episodic volumes of stormwater runoff complicate practical and economical solutions to improve runoff water quality.
My overarching goal for the WEF Stormwater Institute is to help move the national stormwater program forward, identifying ways to improve the performance of stormwater infrastructure investments as well as cost-effective ways to implement these investments. An additional goal is to improve access to funding and other resources to help MS4 permittees implement more robust programs.
Some of the specific ideas I plan to discuss with the Advisory Committee for potential development by WEF include the following:
- Standard training and a career path for stormwater professionals. The water and wastewater treatment sectors have a well-defined curriculum and structure to advance in facility operation and management. Stormwater professionals lack this structure. WEF is a leader in water education, and it is a natural fit for WEF to provide the leadership to establish a career path and structure for stormwater professionals.
- Create a curated library of available curriculums for elementary and middle-school classes about stormwater. A pressing issue is that the public has little understanding of what stormwater is, and the problems of stormwater pollution. Creating this awareness early will pay dividends for stormwater in the future. We also will look at ways to educate the general public about stormwater and its value as an essential utility in the urban environment.
- Support source control for stormwater. As of July 2009, there were more than 48 million known organic and inorganic substances assigned a chemical abstract number, with more than 12,000 additional substances being added each day. We need to shift from discovering and mitigating pollutants at the end of the pipe and instead focus on control of pollutants at their source.
- Promote One Water. Ultimately, urban stormwater needs to be recycled and used in direct potable reuse systems. This will solve not only the issue of treating polluted urban runoff, but also will help make the urban water cycle more sustainable. The WEF Stormwater Institute is currently updating its Rainfall to Results publication, and the One Water approach will be central in the publication’s updated vision for stormwater.
- Secure funding. WEF has been invaluable in helping to get the word ‘stormwater’ into infrastructure legislation. We need to continue this progress and push for appropriations to match the enabling legislation. Among Stormwater Institute funding priorities are creating new grant programs for stormwater infrastructure; working toward a dedicated U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Office of Stormwater; expanding access to Section 319 funding for MS4 permittees; and implementing recent recommendations from the EPA Environmental Finance Advisory Board.
The Stormwater Institute also will continue to support implementation of the Stormwater Testing and Evaluation of Products and Practices (STEPP) program, now under the stewardship of the National Municipal Stormwater Alliance (NMSA). STEPP is an important initiative that will enable stormwater programs to optimize their investments.
My 37-year career in water resources has prepared me well for my term as chair of the WEF Stormwater Institute Advisory Committee. I am a civil engineer based in California with professional registration in ten states. I have received recognition as an American Society of Civil Engineers (Reston, Virginia) Fellow, and hold a Diplomate designation from the American Academy of Water Resources Engineers (Reston, Virginia). I have been a member of the California Stormwater Quality Association for more than 20 years and served a term as Chairman of the Board.
My professional career includes work in hydrology, hydraulics, sediment transport, as well as stormwater quality and management. My focus for the past 20 years has been MS4 programs.
Along with Randy Neprash and Seth Brown, I founded NMSA, a nonprofit organization dedicated to assisting MS4s in implementing their stormwater programs, and currently serve as its chair. In addition to its technical work, NMSA aims to provide a unified, national voice on MS4 issues.
Mark Doneux, WEF Stormwater Committee
The WEF Stormwater Committee advocates for effective stormwater management by developing high-quality technical products and programming to support stormwater professionals, promote innovation in the field, support policies that recognize the importance of implementing sound management principles, encourage communication and outreach with the public and decision makers, and collaborate with organizations and groups to advance the field. The committee is comprised of 150 volunteer participants from state/local governments, consultants, academics, non-profits, vendors, and other organizations.
One major initiative for the Stormwater Committee was a realignment of its subcommittees, which support the committee’s work in specific areas, that occurred in 2021. The reorganization involved the addition of a new Industrial Stormwater Subcommittee, as well as other changes informed by the committee’s strategic plan and a recently conducted member interest survey. Overall, the realignment aimed to place a greater emphasis on emerging and high-interest topics within the stormwater sector, provide greater opportunities for volunteering, engagement, and leadership among members. In 2022, the committee will work to ensure the successful launch of these new subcommittees and support their leadership.
The updated list of subcommittees now includes
- Funding and Finance,
- Green Infrastructure and Stormwater Control Measures,
- Industrial Stormwater,
- Innovation and Technology,
- Policy, Governance, and Regulation,
- Public Outreach, Education, and Collaboration, and
The committee is planning a webinar for May 2022 as well as several ongoing “all-hands” calls, in which members will hear the latest news from the stormwater sector, learn about subcommittee initiatives, receive updates from our other partners at WEF including the Stormwater Institute, the WEF Watershed Committee, the WEF Committee Leadership Council, the WEFTEC Program Committee, and the WEF Technical Practices Committee.
Members also will work this year to ensure that stormwater is identified in the next U.S. EPA Clean Watersheds Needs Survey (CWNS), which begins in 2022; support WEF’s Water Week efforts; and present at the June 2022 Stormwater Summit and at WEFTEC.
Aside from my work with the WEF Stormwater Committee, I am the Administrator of the Capitol Region Watershed District (CRWD) in St. Paul, Minnesota, and have more than 35 years of experience in the water resources field. As administrator, I oversee all CRWD operations, including 22 staff, as well as manage the $11-million CRWD annual budget and work plan. CRWD operates its own regulatory program, performs stormwater research, provides watershed education, and maintains best management practices. It also owns, operates, and maintains a 10-km (6-mi) regional storm sewer system. Additionally, we implement capital improvement projects and provide grant funding to support water quality projects.
This year at WEFTEC, I was honored to receive the Volunteer Service Award for my work on the WEF Stormwater Committee. Additionally, I am a member of the Minnesota Association of Watershed Administrators and will become their president in 2022. For the Central States Water Environment Federation, I am the chair of the Minnesota Chapter’s Stormwater Committee. I am also honored to once again co-chair the Stormwater Summit, to be held in Minneapolis in June 2022.