The Alexandria, Va.-based Water Environment Federation (WEF) and the Madison, Wis.-based National Onsite Wastewater Recycling Association (NOWRA) have agreed to work together to integrate centralized and de-centralized water, stormwater and wastewater management. The two organizations will work together on educational initiatives, and NOWRA staff and offices will relocate to WEF's Alexandria, Va.-based headquarters in the coming weeks.

Beginning Monday, WEF and NOWRA will share resources to promote existing technologies and new applications for onsite and natural treatment systems, educate the public on proper use and benefits of the systems, and promote consistent regulation of the onsite treatment industry. The organizations also will collaborate on educational events and joint publications. "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 in a statement. "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."

Currently, one-quarter of the U.S. population and one-third of all new residential and commercial development use decentralized systems for wastewater treatment, according to WEF and NOWRA. 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 to meet the evolving needs of the public and address emerging environmental challenges, the organizations say. "After investigating partnership options, the NOWRA board decided that WEF provides us with the most viable option for partnership, and the location [in the Washington metro area] allows us to be more responsive to and involved in legislative actions related to the field," said NOWRA President Tom Groves.

Read more information about WEF and NOWRA.