What is the Center for Water Quality Excellence?
The Center for Water Quality Excellence (CWQE) is a project of PENNVEST aiding landowners, local governments, businesses, and organizations in navigating planning, implementation and funding opportunities in urban and agricultural stormwater management. By providing clarity and guidance on grants, loans, incentives, and public-private partnerships, the Center’s staff will help to support the local implementation of stormwater management practices on both agricultural and developed land to improve the quality of Pennsylvania waterways. CWQE is a pilot initiative and will be operating in Lancaster and York Counties during 2021/2022.
Who is the CWQE’s audience?
The Center’s audience includes farmers, businesses, municipalities, other local government entities, and institutions, as well as organizations and partnerships whose mission is to improve water quality by reducing sediment and nutrient pollution into Pennsylvania’s waterways.
Is there a cost for CWQE services?
CWQE services are free-of-charge to public and private customers seeking assistance in understanding and accessing information on funding and technical assistance programs for stormwater and agricultural best management practice (BMP) implementation.
How are CWQE services accessed?
Anyone can access the online self-help Support Hub knowledgebase resources at https://support.CWQE.org. Customers in the pilot area (Lancaster and York counties) can request one-on-one assistance in three ways: 1) by registering and selecting “Starting a Conversation” on the home page of the Support Hub, 2) by sending an email request for assistance along with your contact information to email@example.com, or 3) by calling the Center at 855-227-1202.
Where is the Center for Water Quality Excellence located?
CWQE has a physical storefront located at 430 Walnut Street, Suite 303, in Columbia Borough, Lancaster County, PA. Beginning August 17, 2021, the CWQE office will be open three days a week on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday from 9:00 am – 5:00 pm; evening appointments can be scheduled if needed.
Walk-in customers are welcome. One-on-one consultations can also be scheduled by calling 855-227-1202 or emailing us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Workshops and open house events will be scheduled beginning in October 2021.
How do I register for services?
To register for a CWQE account, go to https://support.CWQE.org and select the Sign-In link in the upper right corner of the page. On the next page, select the Need an Account link and complete the form to create your account. You will receive an email with an account activation link. Review the email and select the link to activate your account.
Is registration required to receive one-on-one assistance?
Yes. Customers can register online at https://support.cwqe.org by supplying your name and email address. You can also call 855-227-1202 and a Center staff member can register for you. Once registered, customers have several options to access support which is as simple as initiating a conversation with staff for assistance. See KB Article Registering for CWQE Hub Support.
Support Hub Knowledge Base resources are available 24/7 to the public from the Support Hub’s virtual library at https://support.cwqe.org and do not require an individual to register to access the resources.
How long should it take to get a response from the Support Hub?
Assistance requests will be acknowledged by an automated email from the CWQE Support Hub within 5-10 minutes. A CWQE coach will initiate a response within 48 hours of receiving a request. The nature of the request will determine the level of help and time needed to satisfy each request. Some support may be provided via email or phone calls; others may require more in-depth research that could take several days or weeks to provide meaningful and satisfactory guidance. One-on-one consultations at the Center’s office in Columbia Borough can be scheduled Tuesday – Thursdays.
What are the Center’s hours of operation?
The Center is open three days a week Tuesday – Thursday from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm.
Does the CWQE offer financial support for stormwater projects?
CWQE does not provide financing directly. The Center’s role is to help customers take advantage of the numerous grants, loan, and public-private partnerships available to support stormwater infrastructure and agricultural conservation in Pennsylvania. CWQE staff work for you to provide answers to questions about funding programs, help you leverage funding opportunities, and provide examples of successful funding strategies.
Does the CWQE provide technical support, such as planning assistance or on-site preliminary assessments?
CWQE coaches will connect you with local technical support providers from both the public and private sectors. However, there may be situations where local assistance is not available, and we will work with you to provide limited technical assistance. For example, we may provide initial mapping assistance and suggestions for stormwater or agricultural practices or strategies that would suit your site needs. We will also share simple-to-use technological tools that can help with the planning and management of BMPs, such as an online tool to help with farm assessments, stormwater BMP inspections, and tracking of fertilizer and pesticide applications.