Meeting Between EPA Office of Water Senior Managers and State Water Associations

On January 27th, senior managers from EPA’s Office of Water met with the Executive Directors (in person) and Association Executive Committees (by phone) of ASDWA, ACWA, GWPC, ECOS.  These meetings are held quarterly and involve updates and exchanges on topics of mutual interest related to clean and safe water.  Key “take-away” messages from this most meeting, of particular interest to state drinking water programs, are as follows:

  • Final FY 16 Budget; EPA’s Plans & Timing for Developing EPA’s FY 16 Operating Plan: In general, the final appropriated levels for EPA (and, by extension, of Federal funding for states) were generally comparable to FY 15 levels, but reflecting cuts in the SRFs (as ASDWA has communicated to states previously).  The next step is for EPA, working with the Office of Management and Budget, to agree upon a final “Operating Plan”, which lays out the precise delineation and uses of the FY 16 funds.  However, funds for the SRFs have already been agreed upon (in advance of the final Operating Plan) and EPA Regions are now “open for business” in terms of making grants to states for those FY 16 SRF funds.
  • Implementation of EPA’s HABs Strategy: EPA submitted its plan, entitled “Algal Toxin Risk Assessment and Management Strategic Plan for Drinking Water” to Congress in November 2015, as required under H.R. 212 (The Drinking Water Protection Act), and will provide updates to Congress every 6 months.  The Agency is currently working though that plan, with a variety of Federal, state, and local partners (including ASDWA).
  • EPA-SAB’s Next Steps/Plans Relative to “EPA’s Assessment of the Potential Impacts of Hydraulic Fracturing for Oil and Gas on Drinking Water Resources”: A public teleconference of the SAB panel considering this report will be held on February 1-2, to be followed, in March, with completion of the Board’s work, a “quality review” of the report, and final release sometime thereafter (but, before the end of calendar year 2016).
  • White House Water Summit: A White House Summit will take place on March 22nd (unfortunately, during the week of ASDWA’s Member Meeting) designed to “raise awareness of water issues in the U.S. and to catalyze ideas and actions to help build a sustainable and secure water future through innovative solutions.”  Participants will include stakeholders from the Federal, state, Tribal, and local levels.
  • EPA’s Water Infrastructure and Resiliency Finance Center:  The center is working on an array of initiatives including compiling state-of-the-art state infrastructure financing practices, developing training on public-private partnerships; holding listening sessions for the center (the next is planned for Portand, OR on March 29-30); developing a rate-setting for affordability study; and working with some selected communities on pre-infrastucture funding development work.  Please refer to the center’s web site for details: