Formed in 1987 as the Association of Oregon Sewerage Agencies (AOSA) by a small group of municipal and special district wastewater managers, the Oregon Association of Clean Water Agencies (ACWA) has become the leader in the development of policies and programs for collaborative management of water resources in Oregon.
Originally named after the National Association of Metropolitan Sewerage Agencies, the initial AOSA members worked together to affect a more consistent and collaborative approach to wastewater permitting in Oregon. The all-volunteer organization held monthly meetings, compared notes on regional regulatory initiatives, and hired consultants to work on special issues. To reflect the statewide nature of its membership and the regional differences in water quality management practices, the organization regularly rotated daylong meetings to different regions of the state. At the time, a general all-member meeting was held in the morning, with Committee meetings continuing after lunch.
A Futures Committee effort in 1992 resulted in an organizational name change from AOSA to ACWA to reflect the changing nature of the business to include both management of wastewater and stormwater. That effort also concluded that the time was right to hire paid staff to help manage an organization that was rapidly expanding both in membership and in the number of issues.
The bylaws for the organization have been reviewed regularly and been revised a few times. For instance, a Stormwater Committee was added in the mid-1990s to reflect expanding roles of stormwater management agencies.