February 1, 2024
Ocean Sewage Alliance
Larissa Balzer, Senior Network Coordinator

OSA Joins EPA Decentralized Wastewater Partnership

The Ocean Sewage Alliance has joined the Environmental Protection Agency Decentralized Wastewater MOU Partnership to combat sewage and wastewater pollution. Explore how this collaboration will make waves in our mission for cleaner oceans.

Estimated read time: 2.5 min

We are thrilled to share some exciting news that promises to propel our mission forward and pave the way for transformative change in the realm of wastewater management. Drumroll, please! The Ocean Sewage Alliance (OSA) has officially joined forces with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) as a proud signatory of the Decentralized Wastewater Management Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) Partnership.

A group photo taken after signing the memorandum.
© Courtesy of EPA. Those pictured listed below.

What does this mean, you ask? Well, allow us to dive into the details and shed some light on this significant milestone in our journey towards sewage-free oceans and healthier communities.

This collaboration is a beacon of hope in the realm of decentralized wastewater systems, aiming to enhance their overall performance and management. It brings together a diverse array of stakeholders, including national organizations representing practitioners in the decentralized wastewater industry, all united by a common goal: to protect our nation's public health and water resources.

The Partnership, which originated between EPA and eight public and private sector organizations back in 2005, has since blossomed into a robust coalition of 25 partners as of December 5, 2023. Together, these partners collaborate on various fronts, from exchanging information on system technology to promoting public awareness of septic system care and maintenance.

"Our partnership with the EPA in the Decentralized Wastewater Management MOU Partnership is a testament to our commitment to uniting voices and driving action. Together, we will build bridges, foster awareness, and break down silos to protect our oceans," emphasizes Stewart Sarkozy-Banocy, steering committee chair.

© Courtesy of Stewart Sarkozy Banoczy

As an organization rooted in optimism and belief in the possibility of change, we see this collaboration as a beacon of hope for a brighter, cleaner future. Our bold and honest approach to tackling challenges head-on is reflected in our commitment to challenge norms and embrace innovative solutions.

Moreover, our transformative spirit shines through in our dedication to championing the circular economy and harnessing the power of innovation to drive positive change. By joining forces with EPA and other esteemed partners, we are amplifying our impact and catalyzing progress in the fight against ocean sewage pollution.

"At OSA, we believe in the power of collaboration and collective action. Partnering with the EPA allows us to leverage our strengths and resources to make a tangible difference in the fight against sewage pollution," adds Helen Fox, steering committee vice-chair.

Steering Committee Chair, Stewart Sarkozy Banoczy signs the EPA MOU.

But perhaps most importantly, our human-centric approach underscores our commitment to empathy, accessibility, and demystifying complex issues like sewage and wastewater pollution. Through initiatives like this MOU Partnership, we aim to empower communities with the knowledge and resources they need to safeguard their local waterways and coastal environments.

Katie Heffner, Steering Committee member, shares her perspective on motivating action on this challenge, stating, "Behavior change is one of the keys to addressing ocean sewage and wastewater pollution. Through understanding our audience’s motivations and barriers and designing programs accordingly, we can inspire individuals to adopt responsible practices that protect our oceans."

"Amplifying the work of champions is at the heart of our mission at OSA. Through this partnership, we have the opportunity to provide valuable resources, support grassroots initiatives, and drive meaningful change on the ground," underscores Jasmine Fournier, executive director.

Together, we are stronger, bolder, and more determined than ever to make a splash in the fight against ocean sewage pollution. So, here's to new beginnings, collaborative endeavors, and a future where our oceans are teeming with life, not sewage.

Learn more about the EPA Decentralized Wastewater MOU Partnership

Decentralized MOU Signatories:

Top Row (left to right): Zach Lowenstein (U.S. EPA), Vern Steel (NRWA), Andrew Sawyers (U.S. EPA), Ben Grumbles (ECOS), Stewart Sarkozy-Banoczy (OSA), Kevin Orner (ACTAT), Julia Anastasio (ACWA), Adam Krantz (NACWA), John Ferdetta (NAWT), Matt Sigler (ICC), Jeff Moeller (WRF), Kabir Thatte (Dig Deep).

Bottom Row (left to right): Eric Casey (SORA), Ted Stiger (RCAP), Farah Ahmad (USDA-RD), Harold Chase (NSF), Dain Hansen (IAPMO), Allison Blodig (NOWRA), Heidi Faller (U.S. EPA), Kruttika Gopal (U.S. EPA), Mami Hara (US Water Alliance), Lisa McFadden (WEF).