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EPA Requests New Nominations for Science Advisory Board

April 9, 2021      Drinking Water Headlines     

Photo credit: EPA

The Biden administration has released the current members of EPA’s Science Advisory Board (SAB) and is inviting new nominations of scientific experts to be considered for appointment by May 3, 2021. The Agency is undertaking this effort to ensure scientific integrity and reduce the influence of industry on SAB recommendations. The SAB is a chartered Federal Advisory Committee that provides independent scientific and technical peer review, consultation, advice and recommendations to the EPA Administrator. Members of the SAB constitute a distinguished body of non-EPA scientists, engineers, and economists who are nationally and internationally recognized experts in their respective fields. Members are appointed by the EPA Administrator to serve as Special Government Employees for a term of up to three years. For more information, read the Federal Register Notice, and visit the SAB website.


EPA Releases Updated PFBS Toxicity Assessment

April 9, 2021      Drinking Water Headlines     

EPA has released an updated toxicity assessment for perfluorobutane sulfonic acid (PFBS), one of the six PFAS that was monitored by drinking water systems for the Third Unregulated Contaminant Monitoring Rule. The Biden administration determined that the previous PFBS toxicity assessment released on January 19, 2021 was compromised by political interference and undertook a rigorous scientific review to update the PFBS assessment with EPA career scientists and external peer reviewers. The toxicity assessment provides a summary of potential health effects and identifies dose levels at which they may occur for calculating toxicity values. States and federal agencies can use the PFBS toxicity assessment for making decisions to address potential health risks associated with human exposures. PFBS has been found in drinking water, surface water, wastewater, dust, carpeting and carpet cleaners, and floor wax. For more information, read the press release and visit EPA’s website.


ASDWA Submits Comments on Proposed Delays of LCRR Effective and Compliance Dates

April 8, 2021      Drinking Water Headlines     

Today (4/8), ASDWA submitted comments (below) on EPA’s proposed delays of the effective and compliance dates for the Lead and Copper Rule Revisions (LCRR). ASDWA’s comments focused on three major issues:

  1. The date for the submission of primacy packages must be delayed by the same length of time as the delay of the LCRR effective date (six months).
  2. Any potential additional changes being considered for the LCRR should also result in a January 1st start of LCRR compliance sampling.
  3. A change in the definitions for lead service lines and galvanized service lines, or additional information and guidance is needed to clarify the requirements for water systems so that primacy agencies can provide appropriate oversight.

Additional issues for future comments and/or input to EPA from the primacy agencies will likely arise from EPA’s planned public listening sessions and community and stakeholder roundtables in 2021.

ASDWA Comments on Proposed LCRR Delay 04082021 Final


EPA Seeking Speakers for LCRR Public Listening Sessions

April 8, 2021      Drinking Water Headlines     

On Wednesday, March 31, EPA announced two virtual public listening sessions to ensure that communities and stakeholders have the opportunity to provide their perspectives to the agency on protections from lead in drinking water. The goal of public engagement is to obtain further input on EPA’s Lead and Copper Rule Revisions (LCRR), including from individuals and communities that are most at-risk of exposure to lead in drinking water.

Virtual public listening sessions will be held on April 28, and May 5, from 10:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m., EDT, with slots for over 400 speakers! EPA is looking for speakers to fill the 3-minute speaking slots and those interested in speaking can sign up for a speaking slot on EPA’s website here. During this event, members of the public will be provided the opportunity to speak their mind and to share their thoughts and concerns about the impact of lead in their community through lead in drinking water in the context of the LCRR. EPA will be conducting its review of the LCRR through the summer of 2021, so take advantage of this opportunity to provide your input!


EPA Announces LCRR Public Listening Sessions and Roundtables

April 1, 2021      Drinking Water Headlines     

On Wednesday, March 31, EPA announced upcoming virtual public listening sessions and roundtables to ensure that communities and stakeholders have the opportunity to provide their perspectives to the agency on protections from lead in drinking water. The goal of public engagement is to obtain further input on EPA’s Lead and Copper Rule Revisions (LCRR), including from individuals and communities that are most at-risk of exposure to lead in drinking water.

Virtual public listening sessions will be held on April 28, and May 5, from 10:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m., EDT, noting that this is a 12-hour timeframe. Those interested in speaking can sign up for a 3-minute speaking slot on EPA’s website here. During this event, registered members of the public will be provided the opportunity to share their thoughts and concerns about the impact of lead in their community as it relates to the LCRR with EPA senior officials and managers.

EPA will then host community-focused virtual roundtables, starting in May of 2021. The roundtables will facilitate discussion of their unique perspectives on LCRR-related topics among EPA and local organizations including but not limited to, local government entities, public water utilities, community-organized groups, environmental groups and elected officials.

Starting in June of 2021, EPA will also host virtual roundtables with other important stakeholder groups, including drinking water utilities, intergovernmental associations, environmental organizations, environmental justice organizations, public health organizations, and consumer associations. Finally, EPA also intends to host a national co-regulator meeting with primacy agencies (e.g., states, tribes, and territories) in July 2021 to discuss the feedback received from communities and stakeholders.

EPA requests that communities or organizations that would like to be considered for a community-focused or stakeholder roundtable submit a nomination letter to the Agency not later than April 23. Members of the public that are unable to attend any of the events will be able to submit comments via the docket at: http://www.regulations.gov,  Docket ID: EPA-HQ-OW-2021-0255 until June 30, 2021. More information on EPA’s LCRR virtual public engagements can be found here.


Register for Water Week 2021

April 1, 2021      Drinking Water Headlines, Legislative     

Water Week 2021 will be held virtually this year from April 25 through May 1 to help elevate water as a national priority with Congress and national policymakers. The 2021 Water Week Policy Zoom-In is a free webinar hosted jointly by the Water Association Partners. The event will take place on April 27, 2021 from 2:00PM – 4:30PM ET and will provide attendees the opportunity to hear directly from key EPA officials and Members of Congress on the important regulatory and legislative water policies they are working on now and in the years ahead. Register for the Policy Zoom-In here: https://nacwa.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_fiqmWROtRZapbKs0HymVEw. Learn more about Water Week and register for other events here: https://www.waterweek.us/#about-water-week.

 


Biden Announces $2.25 Trillion Infrastructure and Jobs Plan

March 31, 2021      Drinking Water Headlines, DWSRF     

Today (3/31), President Biden announced a sweeping $2.25 trillion, eight-year proposal on infrastructure. This is the first of a two-part plan with the second major package expected in April. This first proposal includes funding for transportation, electric vehicles, infrastructure and climate research/development, technology manufacturing and research, workforce development, electric grid modernization, carbon capture, water infrastructure, broadband internet, affordable housing, and improvements to schools and childcare facilities. The second plan, which could cost $1 trillion or more, will focus on health care, paid-leave access and extending the child tax credit. COVID-19 relief bill brings Biden face to face with potential limitations of ability to work across the aisle | KTLA

Biden’s plan proposes $111 billion to improve water infrastructure and replace lead service lines. That includes:

  • $45 billion for the Drinking Water State Revolving Fund (SRF) and WIIN grants to replace lead service lines;
  • $56 billion in grants and low-cost flexible loans to states to modernize water infrastructure through the Clean Water and Drinking Water SRFs; and
  • $10 billion in funding to monitor and remediate PFAS in drinking water.

To cover the costs, President Biden plans to raise corporate taxes from 21% to 28% and to raise the minimum tax on overseas profits earned by U.S. corporations from 13% to 21%.


NGWA Spotlights Women of Water for History Month

March 31, 2021      Drinking Water Headlines     

The month of March celebrates women’s achievements throughout history and highlights the extraordinary women responsible for outstanding contributions to their fields. To celebrate Women’s History Month this year, the National Ground Water Association (NGWA) turned the focus to water professionals making waves, including ASDWA’s Manager of Regulatory and Legislative Affairs, Wendi Wilkes.

Check out Wendi’s spotlight interview along with NGWA’s Women in Groundwater (ngwa.org) for 2021. You can also follow Wendi on Twitter @WendiWilkes.

Congratulations, Wendi!

 


EPA to Update TSCA New Chemicals Program to Ensure Human Health and Environmental Protections

March 30, 2021      Drinking Water Headlines     

On March 29, EPA issued a news release that the Agency is making updates to its Toxic Substances and Control Act (TSCA) new chemicals program to ensure human health and environmental protections. This includes conducting an evaluation of its policies, guidance, templates, and regulations to align the approach for making determinations and managing new chemical risks with requirements for significant new use rules (SNURs) and assumptions related to worker exposures.

For SNURs, EPA will stop issuing determinations of “not likely to present an unreasonable risk” and will instead issue orders to address those potential risks when a new chemical review leads to a conclusion that one or more uses may present an unreasonable risk, or when EPA lacks the information needed to make a safety finding. EPA will share updates with stakeholders and the public as it moves forward with any TSCA changes. For more information, view the news release and visit EPA’s TSCA New Chemicals Program website.


ASDWA 2021 Virtual Member Meeting Continues

March 26, 2021      Drinking Water Headlines     

This week, ASDWA held the first three sessions of the Annual ASDWA Member Meeting. The opening session featured Radhika Fox, EPA Principal Deputy Assistant Administrator for Water, who spoke about the important State-EPA relationship, covered priorities for this Administration, and provided updates on the highly anticipated Lead and Copper Rule Revisions. The session also included addresses from Alan Roberson, ASDWA Executive Director, and Cathy Tucker-Vogel of Kansas, ASDWA President. The opening session was followed by presentations from Utah and Oklahoma on pandemic work from home adaptions and breakout sessions covering topics like remote sanitary surveys, overcoming barriers to electronic plan reviews, and managing workforce while remote – onboarding and retention.

Day two took a deep dive into program metrics for utilities, state water programs, and EPA oversight. States used the breakout groups to reflect on existing metrics used by states and EPA and discussed how future metrics could be more meaningful in measuring program success.

Day three focused on SDWIS and data management with EPA providing an update on SDWIS modernization. The session also provided states and EPA the opportunity to discuss LCRR support in SDWIS State. ASDWA also hosted social sessions in the evening for ASDWA members to chat and interact informally.

Next week’s sessions include PFAS – Updates, Resources, and State Perspectives, and the State-Only and State/EPA-Only Roundtables.


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