National Drinking Water Advisory Council Meeting Provides a Few Interesting Tidbits

On December 6-7, EPA held its 2018 meeting of the National Drinking Water Advisory Council (NDWAC) in Washington, D.C. The meeting had the usual updates from two of the three divisions of the Office of Groundwater and Drinking Water – the Standards and Risk Management Division (SRMD) and the Drinking Water Protection Division (DWPD). The SRMD update had a few interesting regulatory tidbits, starting with 2019 likely being a busy year from the regulatory perspective with the publication of the proposed Long-Term Revisions to the Lead and Copper Rule (LT-LCR) and the final rule for lead-free plumbing pipe and fixtures. Also, in 2019, look for a proposed perchlorate regulation (based on the recent six-month extension of the court deadline) and EPA’s PFAS Management Plan, noting that the release of this Plan has slipped a bit). Future regulatory actions in 2021 include the final Fifth Contaminant Candidate List (CCL5), the final Fourth Regulatory Determination (Reg Det 4), and the Fifth Unregulated Contaminant Monitoring Rule (UCMR5).

The DWPD update also covered a lot of issues, from EPA’s new strategic measure to reduce the number of violations of health-based standards by 25% by 2022 to infrastructure to lead in schools. EPA has been collaborating with ASDWA over the past year on a “deep dive” on the Stage 2 DBPR, as roughly 30% of the health-based violations are associated with the Stage 2 DBPR. Half of those violations from consecutive systems and it’s going to be a challenge to bring those consecutive systems back into compliance. Another challenge is small systems, as systems serving less than 500 people have over half of the health-based violations.

The development and implementation of health advisories (HAs) were discussed at the end of the meeting. States are still struggling somewhat with the implementation of the most recent HAs for cyanotoxins and for PFOA and PFOS, as the public typically doesn’t understand the difference between an advisory and a regulation. Earlier this year, NDWAC was asked to provide some detailed input on future HAs, and below is the combined letter from NDWAC and EPA Administrator Pruitt’s response. At this time, EPA has no plans to develop any HAs in the future.

Combined HA Letters and Pruitt Response