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🔬 "State of the Industry 2021"

Talking Under Water

Photo by Steve Johnson / Unsplash

👋 This is the final Water PodSnacks of 2021.
Happy Holidays and see you in the new year!

Hosts: Lauren Del Ciello, Katie Johns & Bob Crossen
Category: 🔬 Research

Podcast’s Essential Bites:

[2:40] BC: “[The] nearly $1.2 trillion [Infrastructure] Bill includes $550 billion in new spending, of which $55 billion has been allocated to drinking water, wastewater, stormwater and infrastructure funding. […] The EPA has noted that this is the single greatest investment in water and wastewater since the Clean Water Act amendments in the 70s. It is more money than all the past 10 years combined for the industry. […] The primary drivers that we know in the industry are the Drinking Water State Revolving Fund, and the Clean Water State Revolving Fund. Each of those individually, over five years are going to get at least $11.7 billion every single year for the next five years.”

[4:43] KJ: “In regards to stormwater, there are a few items in the bill that bring funding for stormwater's way. So first, the US EPA Sewer Overflow and Stormwater Reuse Municipal Grant Program will receive $1.4 billion over the next five years. The Stormwater Infrastructure Technology Program will get 25 million to create five Stormwater Centers of Excellence. There'll be $50 million allocated for stormwater infrastructure planning, development and implementation grants. And the EPA will get $5 million per year to complete the clean watershed needs survey biannually. Additionally, there is an overlap with […] roads and construction.”

[5:48] LDC: “PFAS are also a really hot issue included with the $10 billion year mark for PFAS remediation efforts. And then specifically the EPA assistance for small and disadvantaged communities program will provide grants to states to assist in the purchase of point of views or point of entry filters and filtration systems under the act.”

[6:35] LDC: “I'm going to move us over to a discussion of the state of the industry […]. First, I'll start over with WQP. […] The water quality products market covers residential and commercial water quality and filtration. […] In the 2020 report, the impacts of COVID-19 budget impacts and a shift to digital technologies were highlighted as some of the key takeaways. And in this year's report, finding and retaining talent, market diversification with a focus on sustainability and wellness, and supply chain impacts stand out as the top areas of concern.”

[8:16] LDC: “Supply chain was without a doubt one of the hottest topics this year. There's no surprise there […]. However, this was particularly interesting when compared to the previous year's survey. In 2020 when asked what aspect of your organization has been most severely impacted by the Coronavirus, 23% of respondents answered demand, making it the most popular response to that question. It makes a lot of sense since the earlier stages of the pandemic included shelter-in-place orders, and saw an increase in consumer awareness of both wellness and home improvement issues. However, that ripple effect of demand coupled with the trading issues as the lead response to answer that supply is the most impacted issue in 2021. That's 38% of respondents.”

[9:15] KJ: “Similarly, when asked what factors have had a negative impact on sales in the past 12 months, 2021 respondents cited COVID-19, material prices, supply and demand, and a lack of skilled workforce as the top issues. In non pandemic years factors such as big box stores and internet resales definitely represented a much bigger chunk of that negative impact pie.”

[12:39] BC: “We also have some product trends. [It is] notable that flow pressure and level measurement equipment, SCADA and pumps are the top three big things that people are looking to purchase in 2022 and beyond. This makes sense given the smart water technology evolution as we see that growing.”

[16:40] KJ: “As far as trends in the stormwater […] market, we asked people to rate the most important topics. And the top five were regulations and compliance, stormwater management and flood control, the economy, staffing, and then infrastructure rehabilitation. Additionally, staffing regulation, supply chain and permitting were some of the most popular and common answers when we asked about the greatest challenges companies would meet over the next 24 months. Similarly, regulations, […] permitting, erosion control and funding were the most common answers when we asked which topics will affect businesses and people the most over the next 24 months. And product wise, sewer and drainage systems, retention, detention and storage and erosion control were the top three products and services most commonly being used this year. And pipes, fitting and inspection tools, erosion control, and instrumentation and monitoring services are anticipated to be the most commonly purchased products in the next 24 months.”

[30:55] BC: “Another thing of note are the impending PFAS regulations. […] It is going to happen in 2022. […] One of the big aspects that I'm noting about this is the liability for not only manufacturers of equipment, but also for water and wastewater facilities. […] Depending on how the regulations work, […] it may mean that utilities or OEMs could be held liable for PFAS contamination when they are trying to dispose of the for example, granular activated carbon they're using to remove the PFAS from the water. It could be a huge, huge issue. It's a big sticking point. I know that a lot of associations and leadership in the industry are bringing this to Congress […] [and] to the EPA to let them know that water and wastewater utilities and OEMs should not be held liable for this. It should go to the original polluter.”

Rating: 💧💧💧

🎙️ Full Episode: Apple | Spotify
🕰️ 40 min | 🗓️ 12/16/2021
✅ Time saved: 38 min