EPA Reaches Proposed Settlement for Lapsed SDWA Obligations

In January 2019, Waterkeeper Alliance and other environmental advocates filed suit against EPA for missed deadlines under the Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA) and the Administrative Procedure Act (APA). The suit’s claims include the following:

Environmental Protection Agency building | The Environmental… | Flickr

  • EPA failed to publish the fifth Contaminant Candidate List (CCL) by the deadline of February 6, 2018, based on a fixed five-year interval;
  • EPA failed to publish the fourth regulatory determination by the deadline of August 6, 2016, based on fixed five-year interval;
  • EPA delayed and failed to perform the review the National Primary Drinking Water Regulations (NPDWR) for total chromium and determine whether to revise it.
  • EPA delayed and failed to revise the NPDWRs for TCE, PCE, and microbial and disinfection byproducts (MDBPs) within the same six-year review period in which EPA identified the contaminants as appropriate for revision.
  • EPA violated the APA because of the delayed completion of the health assessment of chromium.

A proposed settlement agreement was reached, under which the EPA would agree to the following deadlines:

  • Publishing a proposed regulatory determination for at least five contaminants that are listed on the Fourth CCL by March 13, 2020;
  • Publishing the Fifth and Sixth CCLs by November 17, 2026 (the Fifth CCL is expected to be published by July 18, 2022);
  • Determining whether the existing NPDWR for chromium is appropriate for revision within 3 years of the completion of EPA’s final Integrated Risk Information System assessment for Hexavalent Chromium;
  • Publishing a proposal to revise the NPDWRs for the MDBP contaminants identified as candidates for revision in the EPA’s Six-Year Review 3 by July 31, 2024;
  • Publishing a notice of final action on the proposal to revise the NPDWRs for the MDBPs by September 30, 2027.

The MDBP deadlines may be extended if EPA conducts a Federal Advisory Committee or Information Collection Rule as a part of the revisions. A summary of the proposed settlement agreement was published in the Federal Register and is open for public comment until May 18, 2020.