The Water Environment Federation and the National Onsite Wastewater Recycling Association Announce New Partnership

Media Contact: Lori Harrison,
(703) 684-2480
January 26, 2010

Alexandria, Va. – The Water Environment Federation (WEF) and the National Onsite Wastewater Recycling Association (NOWRA) — a not-for-profit organization that educates and represents the decentralized systems and onsite wastewater treatment profession — are pleased to announce a significant new partnership that will take effect on February 1, 2010. Passed this month by the organizations’ boards of trustees, the resolution formalizes a three-year agreement to closely collaborate and promote a shared vision of an integrated and holistic approach to water, stormwater, and wastewater management.

Currently, one-quarter of the U.S. population and one-third of all new residential and commercial development use decentralized systems for wastewater treatment. Although the water and wastewater sector is heavily segmented, there is a growing consensus within the sector that water and wastewater management strategies must be integrated and various approaches considered in order to meet the evolving needs of the public and address emerging environmental challenges. To that end, leaders from both WEF and NOWRA have agreed that a strategic partnership can leverage their respective resources and capabilities to advance their mutual goals and interests.

“WEF has long been the go-to source of information for centralized wastewater treatment training and education and NOWRA is the acknowledged leader for decentralized approaches,” said WEF President Paul Freedman. “While these two approaches haven’t been easily reconciled in the past, this strategic partnership demonstrates both organizations’ interest in collaboration with a view toward a common goal of a cleaner global water environment.”

Under the agreement, WEF and NOWRA will strategically partner on several key initiatives including expanding knowledge sharing and training in common areas; promoting existing technologies and new applications for onsite and natural treatment systems; educating the public on proper use and benefits of onsite and natural system technologies; and promoting consistent regulation for effective management and oversight.

Specifically, WEF and NOWRA will explore collaboration on educational events; increased content and options for distance learning; joint publications; and offering more varied perspectives about water quality issues to their respective members. In addition, WEF and NOWRA will work closely to share association management resources to help direct emphasis to mission critical activities. Part of this special relationship will include NOWRA staff and offices relocating to WEF’s Alexandria, Va.-based headquarters in the coming weeks.

“WEF has offered NOWRA an opportunity for an office in the Washington, D.C.-area and a chance to combine forces to share our knowledge of the decentralized systems and onsite wastewater treatment profession with their experience as a global organization,” said NOWRA President Tom Groves. “After investigating partnership options, the NOWRA Board decided that WEF provides us with the most viable option for partnership and the Washington location allows us to be more responsive to and involved in legislative actions related to the field.”

Groves also believes this partnership will help to acknowledge the need for and the importance of decentralized approaches in solving wastewater treatment problems in situations where traditional sewerage is challenging. “We are excited about the opportunity to increase awareness and promote our sector to state and federal institutions as well as the engineering community who are less familiar with the range of institutional and technical options our members offer to help sustain North America’s wastewater infrastructure.”

For more information about WEF and NOWRA, visit and

About WEF
Formed in 1928, the Water Environment Federation (WEF) is a not-for-profit technical and educational organization with 36,000 individual members and 75 affiliated Member Associations representing water quality professionals around the world. WEF and its Member Associations proudly work to achieve our mission of preserving and enhancing the global water environment.

Formed in 1992, NOWRA is a not-for-profit technical and educational organization with 4,000 individual members and 20 affiliated state/province associations representing the onsite/decentralized wastewater industry in North America. NOWRA’s principal purpose is to educate and serve its members and the public by promoting sound federal, state, and local policy, improving standards of practice, and advancing public recognition of unsewered wastewater infrastructure. Its mission is to advance and grow the onsite and decentralized wastewater industry by promoting sustainable wastewater management on a watershed basis through education and outreach.

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