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NMPF Agrees to Work with Municipal Treatment Plants on Water Quality

September 11, 2014

NMPF and the National Association of Clean Water Agencies (NACWA) have signed an agreement to work together on water quality projects that benefit both dairy farmers and wastewater treatment plants in the country’s largest cities.

“Many of those plants have already spent large amounts complying with requirements under the Clean Water Act,” said NMPF President and CEO Jim Mulhern, at a public signing event on Sept. 9th. “While many cities were able to install more affordable technologies to reach initial targets, further reductions will require exponentially more funding.”

NACWA estimates that over the next 20 years, its members are facing a shortfall in funding for wastewater infrastructure upgrades approaching $500 billion. This prompted NACWA members to search for new ways to comply with Clean Water Act requirements and improve water quality from the non-point source sectors, including agriculture.

The 2014 Farm Bill included language to allow municipal entities to partner with agriculture to improve water quality. Some projects that could be funded through collaboration with USDA and municipalities include installing edge-of-field filter strips and anaerobic digestion with nutrient separation technology on farms.

“This unique opportunity provides a framework for NACWA and NMPF members to work together on projects promoting water quality, while strengthening the dairy producer community’s engagement on these issues,” said Mulhern. “While the agreement doesn’t commit NMPF to any funds or explicit obligations, it does provide a framework for NACWA and NMPF members to explore potential pilot projects and policy synergies related to water quality.”

USDA, EPA, and prominent national lawmakers all commented favorably on the signing of the NACWA/NMPF agreement, which took place at the National Press Club in Washington on Sept. 9th.

In the photo: NACWA Executive Director Ken Kirk (left) and NMPF President & CEO Jim Mulhern (right)