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Administrator Regan & AA Fox Share EPA’s Water Priorities

The Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Administrator Regan spoke with the Local Government Advisory Committee (LGAC) during their virtual meeting today. Administrator Regan emphasized the importance of state and local partnerships with EPA and the need for the Agency to evaluate cumulative impacts on communities from pollution in all media (air, water, land) and impacts under all environmental statutes.

Radhika Fox, the Assistant Administrator for EPA’s Office of Water, also spoke with the LGAC on EPA’s water priorities. During her remarks, Ms. Fox announced that EPA will be releasing an agency-wide PFAS Roadmap to address PFAS contamination in air, water, and on land. The Roadmap is built on a three-part framework:

  • Research: Agency work to build the research and evidence base around PFAS, particularly research on how to group PFAS contaminants;
  • Restrict: Agency work to restrict future contamination from entering the environment; and
  • Remediate: Agency work to hold PFAS polluters accountable and support remediation at the local level.

The Roadmap will be released on Monday, October 18, and will outline concrete actions the Agency is planning to take by 2024, including the following actions by the Office of Water:

  • Regulating PFOA and PFOS under the Safe Drinking Water Act;
  • Using effluent limit guidelines for limiting PFAS discharges; and
  • Leveraging work under the Water Quality Standards program.

Ms. Fox also told the LGAC the Office of Water is working on an equity assessment looking at funding programs, regulations, and policies to ensure communities are not disproportionately affected by EPA’s policies. This includes ensuring the potential infrastructure funding being considered by Congress is accessible to small and disadvantaged communities, that localities are ready and able to spend the funds if and when they are made available. Ms. Fox also mentioned the State Revolving Funds were identified by the Biden Administration as a pilot program for the Justice40 initiative.

Ms. Fox updated the LGAC on the Lead and Copper Rule Revisions. EPA plans to share the outcomes of the public engagement over the late Spring and Summer of 2021 and release the next steps on the rule by the end of the year. During the EPA stakeholder engagement, EPA heard from communities that they want the rule to include 100% lead service line replacement over time, including public and private side and the need for EPA to support water systems in developing service line inventories.

EPA is also planning to address the Waters of the United States (WOTUS) by aiming to develop a “durable definition” of WOTUS. The EPA is planning to propose the rule by the end of this year.