Jan 11, 2022

WEF's New Stormwater Leaders

As the new chairs settle into their roles, they spoke to Stormwater Report about their professional backgrounds as well as their plans and priorities during their leadership terms.

storm water industry

At WEFTEC 2021, the Water Environment Federation (WEF; Alexandria, Virginia) Stormwater Committee welcomed Mark Doneux and the WEF Stormwater Institute Advisory Committee welcomed Scott Taylor as their 2021-2023 chairs. Taylor and Doneux have volunteered on their respective committees for several years in supplement to their careers at the forefront of storm water management, leadership, and research.

As the new chairs settle into their roles, they spoke to Stormwater Report about their professional backgrounds as well as their plans and priorities during their leadership terms.

Scott Taylor, WEF Stormwater Institute Advisory Committee

I am looking forward to working with you over the next two years to improve U.S. storm water programs as well as overall storm water quality.

Scott Taylor, newly appointed chair of the Water Environment Federation (WEF; Alexandria, Virginia) Stormwater Institute Advisory Committee, has worked in water resources for nearly 40 years. As one of the founders of the National Municipal Stormwater Alliance (NMSA), Taylor is uniquely suited to help the WEF Stormwater Institute advocate for MS4 permittees and spearhead programs to make their jobs easier. Image courtesy of Taylor/NMSA

Statement from Taylor:

The U.S. Municipal Separate Storm Sewer Systems (MS4) program is currently at a crossroads. On the regulatory side, it faces needs to implement numeric standards through total maximum daily loads (TMDLs) and retrofit the built environment with green infrastructure. On the technical side, our tools remain somewhat primitive for removing dissolved compounds from storm water. Also, the tens of millions of potential pollutants and episodic volumes of storm water runoff complicate practical and economical solutions to improve runoff water quality. 

My overarching goal for the WEF Stormwater Institute is to help move the national storm water program forward, identifying ways to improve the performance of storm water infrastructure investments as well as cost-effective ways to implement these investments. An additional goal is to improve access to funding and other resources to help MS4 permittees implement more robust programs. 

Some of the specific ideas I plan to discuss with the Advisory Committee for potential development by WEF include the following:

  • Standard training and a career path for storm water professionals. The water and wastewater treatment sectors have a well-defined curriculum and structure to advance in facility operation and management. Storm water professionals lack this structure. WEF is a leader in water education, and it is a natural fit for WEF to provide the leadership to establish a career path and structure for storm water professionals.
  • Create a curated library of available curriculums for elementary and middle-school classes about storm water. A pressing issue is that the public has little understanding of what storm water is, and the problems of storm water pollution. Creating this awareness early will pay dividends for storm water in the future. We also will look at ways to educate the general public about storm water and its value as an essential utility in the urban environment.
  • Support source control for storm water. As of July 2009, there were more than 48 million known organic and inorganic substances assigned a chemical abstract number, with more than 12,000 additional substances being added each day. We need to shift from discovering and mitigating pollutants at the end of the pipe and instead focus on control of pollutants at their source.
  • Promote One Water. Ultimately, urban storm water needs to be recycled and used in direct potable reuse systems. This will solve not only the issue of treating polluted urban runoff, but also will help make the urban water cycle more sustainable. The WEF Stormwater Institute is currently updating its Rainfall to Results publication, and the One Water approach will be central in the publication’s updated vision for storm water.
  • Secure funding. WEF has been invaluable in helping to get the word ‘storm water’ into infrastructure legislation. We need to continue this progress and push for appropriations to match the enabling legislation. Among Stormwater Institute funding priorities are creating new grant programs for storm water infrastructure; working toward a dedicated U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Office of Stormwater; expanding access to Section 319 funding for MS4 permittees; and implementing recent recommendations from the EPA Environmental Finance Advisory Board.

The Stormwater Institute also will continue to support implementation of the Stormwater Testing and Evaluation of Products and Practices (STEPP) program, now under the stewardship of the National Municipal Stormwater Alliance (NMSA). STEPP is an important initiative that will enable storm water programs to optimize their investments.

My 37-year career in water resources has prepared me well for my term as chair of the WEF Stormwater Institute Advisory Committee. I am a civil engineer based in California with professional registration in ten states. I have received recognition as an American Society of Civil Engineers (Reston, Virginia) Fellow, and hold a Diplomate designation from the American Academy of Water Resources Engineers (Reston, Virginia). I have been a member of the California Stormwater Quality Association for more than 20 years and served a term as Chairman of the Board. 

My professional career includes work in hydrology, hydraulics, sediment transport, as well as storm water quality and management. My focus for the past 20 years has been MS4 programs.

Along with Randy Neprash and Seth Brown, I founded NMSA, a nonprofit organization dedicated to assisting MS4s in implementing their storm water programs, and currently serve as its chair. In addition to its technical work, NMSA aims to provide a unified, national voice on MS4 issues.

Learn more about Scott Taylor at the NMSA websiteLearn more about the WEF Stormwater Institute on its homepage.

Mark Doneux, WEF Stormwater Committee

Statement from Doneux:

The WEF Stormwater Committee advocates for effective storm water management by developing high-quality technical products and programming to support storm water professionals, promote innovation in the field, support policies that recognize the importance of implementing sound management principles, encourage communication and outreach with the public and decision makers, and collaborate with organizations and groups to advance the field. The committee is comprised of 150 volunteer participants from state/local governments, consultants, academics, non-profits, vendors, and other organizations.

One major initiative for the Stormwater Committee was a realignment of its subcommittees, which support the committee’s work in specific areas, that occurred in 2021. The reorganization involved the addition of a new Industrial Stormwater Subcommittee, as well as other changes informed by the committee’s strategic plan and a recently conducted member interest survey. Overall, the realignment aimed to place a greater emphasis on emerging and high-interest topics within the storm water sector, provide greater opportunities for volunteering, engagement, and leadership among members. In 2022, the committee will work to ensure the successful launch of these new subcommittees and support their leadership.

The updated list of subcommittees now includes

  • Funding and Finance;
  • Green Infrastructure and Storm Water Control Measures;
  • Industrial Storm Water;
  • Innovation and Technology;
  • Policy, Governance, and Regulation;
  • Public Outreach, Education, and Collaboration; and
  • Resiliency.
Mark Doneux recently became the new chair of the WEF Stormwater Committee and will serve in the position for the next two years. Doneux, Administrator of the Capitol Region Watershed District (CRWD; St. Paul, Minnesota), discussed recent committee efforts to reorganize volunteers and advocate for national-level storm water priorities. Image courtesy of Doneux/CRWD

The committee is planning a webinar for May 2022 as well as several ongoing “all-hands” calls, in which members will hear the latest news from the storm water sector, learn about subcommittee initiatives, receive updates from our other partners at WEF including the Stormwater Institute, the WEF Watershed Committee, the WEF Committee Leadership Council, the WEFTEC Program Committee, and the WEF Technical Practices Committee.

Members also will work this year to ensure that storm water is identified in the next U.S. EPA Clean Watersheds Needs Survey (CWNS), which begins in 2022; support WEF’s Water Week efforts; and present at the June 2022 Stormwater Summit and at WEFTEC.

Aside from my work with the WEF Stormwater Committee, I am the Administrator of the Capitol Region Watershed District (CRWD) in St. Paul, Minnesota, and have more than 35 years of experience in the water resources field. As administrator, I oversee all CRWD operations, including 22 staff, as well as manage the $11-million CRWD annual budget and work plan. CRWD operates its own regulatory program, performs storm water research, provides watershed education, and maintains best management practices. It also owns, operates, and maintains a 10-km (6-mi) regional storm sewer system. Additionally, we implement capital improvement projects and provide grant funding to support water quality projects. 

This year at WEFTEC, I was honored to receive the Volunteer Service Award for my work on the WEF Stormwater Committee. Additionally, I am a member of the Minnesota Association of Watershed Administrators and will become their president in 2022. For the Central States Water Environment Federation, I am the chair of the Minnesota Chapter’s Stormwater Committee. I am also honored to once again co-chair the Stormwater Summit, to be held in Minneapolis in June 2022.

Learn more about Mark Doneux at the CRWD websiteLearn more about the WEF Stormwater Committee on wef.org.

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