The Water Environment Federation has developed a series of clean water position statements to guide the critical work WEF provides in clean water policy.

These position statements provide the public and clean water professionals with an understanding of how WEF approaches the topics and issues regarding the availability of clean water. Existing position statements are regularly reviewed and updated through the leadership of the Government Affairs Committee, and new position statements are developed as new topics arise in the clean water sector. WEF members contribute to the development and updating of these documents through collaborative efforts between various technical committees and the Government Affairs Committee.

 

WEF also develops and maintains a series of business policies that provide details on important issues regarding how we conduct business.

WEF members and staff are currently working to update and develop several position statements, which will be posted as soon as they are approved by the WEF Board of Trustees.  If you have any questions about  Policy and Postion statements, please email Amy Kathman at [email protected].

Climate Change

Official Position Statement Approved by WEF

Date of Approval: April 15, 2021
Expiration Date: April 15, 2026

The effects of climate change are a critically important and urgent risk to the future of water and the world. Climate change knows no boundaries, which means all sectors of society must do their part to mitigate and adapt to it. It is imperative that climate change mitigation and adaptation in the water sector be prioritized to ensure our continued ability to consistently deliver on our mission to protect public health and the environment, as well as to deliver on the promise of United Nations Sustainable Development Goal 6: Ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all. In that spirit WEF supports:

Read WEF's Official Position on Climate Change

Water Infrastructure Funding

Official Position Statement Approved by WEF

Date of Approval: February 11, 2021

Expiration Date: February 11, 2026

To adequately and effectively address current and anticipated global water challenges, the water sector needs increased and more reliable funding and financing for wastewater, drinking water, water reuse, and stormwater infrastructure. The effects of the current shortage of available funding for replacement of aging water infrastructure and technology innovations are well documented and reported. Without significant funding increases, there will be long-term harm to public health, environmental protection, social equity, and economic growth in communities.

 READ WEF'S OFFICIAL Water Infrastructure Funding Position Statement

Wastewater Effects of Removing Lead from Drinking Water

Official Position Statement Approved by WEF

Date of Approval: February 11, 2021

Expiration Date: February 11, 2026

Lead is a heavy metal that can have significant health effects even at very low levels. Health professionals agree that there is no level of lead in water that is safe. During the past 30 to 40 years significant efforts have been made to reduce lead in drinking water. As understanding of lead effects increased, public health and regulatory requirements have evolved to include requirements to replacelead pipes and water treatment processes that reduce corrosion of lead pipes and premise plumbing.These changes reduce the introduction of lead into drinking water.

READ WEF'S OFFICIAL POSITION STATEMENT ON Wastewater Effects of Removing Lead from Drinking WateR

Biosolids

Official Position Statement Approved by WEF

Date of Approval:  September 24, 2020

Expiration Date:  September 24, 2025

WEF recognizes that biosolids, a natural byproduct of wastewater treatment, are a renewable resource that is too valuable to waste given our growing needs for renewable energy and sustainability. Thus, WEF endorses and encourages the innovative beneficial recycling and use of biosolids. This updated statement expands WEF’s prior position that had focused primarily on land application of biosolids in support of EPA regulations.

Read WEF's Official Position Statement on Biosolids

Contaminants of Emerging Concern

Official Position Statement Approved by WEF

Date of Approval: April 7, 2020

Expiration Date: April 7, 2025

Chemicals exist in trace amounts everywhere in our environment that are derived from many domestic and industrial sources, including plastics, cleaning products, textiles, cookware, farm and garden products, personal care products, and pharmaceuticals. Contaminants of Emerging Concern (CECs) are
chemicals that are newly discovered or known chemicals, where evolving information about their potential impacts to human health and/or the environment has prompted further evaluation and
investigation.

READ WEF'S OFFICIAL POSTION STATEMENT ON ContaminanS of Emerging Concern 

PFAS

Official Position Statement Approved by WEF

Date of Approval:  April 7, 2020

Expiration Date:  April 7, 2025

Perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), or “highly fluorinated chemicals”, are a large group of synthetic chemicals that includes Perfluorooctanoic Acid (PFOA), Perfluorooctane Sulfonate (PFOS),
Perfluorobutanoic Acid (PFBS), and thousands of other compounds. PFAS are of concern because evolving information about their potential impacts to human health and/or the environment has prompted further evaluation and investigation.

READ WEF's OFFICIAL POSITION STATEMENT ON PFAS 

United Nations Sustainable Development Goals

Official Position Statement Approved by WEF

Date of Approval:  July 12, 2019

Expiration Date:  July 12, 2024

In 2015, the United Nations member states adopted the 2030 Development Agenda titled “Transforming Our World: the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development,” as a call to action for all countries to work towards peace and prosperity for people and the planet. This agenda outlined 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) related to thematic areas such as water, energy, and climate; with associated targets and indicators.

SDG 6 - Clean Water and Sanitation, features targets for water reuse, access, affordability, resiliency, integrated water resources management, reduction in untreated wastewater, and enhanced research and development for water technologies; each of which water professionals around the world contribute to every day.  The work of water professionals also directly impacts most of the other SDGs including SDG 2 - Zero Hunger; SDG 3 - Good Health and Well-Being;  SDG 5 – Gender Equality; SDG 7 - Affordable and Clean Energy; SDG 9 - Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure; SDG 11 - Sustainable Cities and Communities; SDG 12 - Responsible Consumption and Production; SDG 13 - Climate Action; SDG 14 - Life below Water; and SDG 15 - Life on the Land.

Alignment With WEF’s Mission and Critical Objectives

Since 1928, WEF and its members have protected public health and the environment.  WEF's mission, programs, and activities support the objectives of the SDGs, aligning with many, in particular SDG 6 - Clean Water and Sanitation.

Position

WEF supports the objectives of the UN SDGs and recognizes the work that its members, member associations, and the water sector as a whole contribute to furthering progress towards these goals globally. WEF’s programs and activities advance progress toward these goals by:

  • Establishing the conditions that promote accelerated development and implementation of innovative technologies and approaches. This includes fostering research and innovation, accelerating resource recovery, and cultivating the water workforce of the future.
  • Generating increased public awareness of the value of water, water professionals, and resource recovery, leading to increased funding to protect water quality and advance resource recovery.
  • Providing a broad range of content and programing, as well as opportunities for water professionals to learn and share information.
  • Leveraging a global network of water professionals

WEF will continue to foster progress towards achievement of the SDGs by:

  • Increasing water sector and public awareness of the SDGs and their importance, as well as of the work that water professionals are doing to further progress towards achievement of these goals.
  • Seeking opportunities to build upon the work currently being done and to collaborate with our member associations and partners around the world to advance progress towards achievement of the SDGs in the spirit of SDG 17 - Partnership for the Goals.

Stormwater

Official Position Statement Approved by the WEF

Date of Approval:  April 1, 2019

Expiration Date:  March 31, 2024

Urban and suburban stormwater runoff is a growing source of water pollution in many watersheds across the country, contributing nutrients, bacteria and sediment.  Further, the existing stormwater infrastructure is aging and underfunded.  Stormwater runoff is currently addressed through protection and water quality improvement strategies developed by utilities, municipalities, state governments and the US EPA.  However, the nation lacks a comprehensive uniform plan of action at the federal level to cohesively, economically and effectively mitigate stormwater runoff impacts to water quality. Further, funding for research and infrastructure is insufficient at all levels.

Read WEF's Official Position Statement on Stormwater Runoff in the United States Built Environment

Water Reuse

Official Position Statement Approved by WEF

Date of Approval:  September 2017

Expiration Date:   September 2022

Traditional water supplies in many parts of the world are becoming inadequate to sustainably meet the needs of communities. Population growth, development, droughts, over-drafting of groundwater, and climate change are straining water resources and altering the way communities plan for future demands and uses of water. There is a clear need to more effectively use water resources to provide reliable, high-quality, and affordable potable supplies to communities. Where limited water supplies are increasingly inadequate.

Read WEF's OFFICAL POSITION STATEMENT ON Water Reuse