Thanks to the Water Environment Federation (WEF) for organizing a great meeting today with EPA’s Nancy Stoner (Acting Assistant Administrator), Mindy Eisenberg (Associate Chief, Protection Branch), and Kellie McGinness Kubena (Chief, Sustainable Communities Branch). Participants included Stormwater Maintenance, LLC, DC Water, WSSC, Loudon Water, among others.
The topic was employment as related to water initiatives. Lots of good stuff. We were able to share our viewpoint from a small business and stormwater perspective:
- The paradigm shift that is occurring as the design and construction industries transition from new-construction to operations, maintenance, and rehabilitation.
- Community based non-profit organizations, such as Blue Water Baltimore are engaging school systems to help facilitate environmental and water education – bringing a new generation of interest to the water employment field. Driver = Grant and Foundation funding.
- Existing stormwater treatment infrastructure is reaching lifecycle limits in many cases and is requiring more attention to avoid public safety and water quality issues. More attention to these rehabilitation issues can help the design and construction industries re-focus to reduce the impact of the current economic conditions.
- Green infrastructure construction and maintenance requires more labor intensive resources. This means more jobs. Traditional contractors must re-tool to be successful with green infrastructure.
- Increased focus on maintenance is an important way to help the design and construction industries recover from the challenging economic situation. Jobs created to perform maintenance are permanent jobs – not one-time assignments.