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ECOS STEP Meeting This Week Focuses on PFAS

July 30, 2020      Drinking Water Headlines     

On July 29-30, the Environmental Council of States (ECOS) held its virtual 2020 State Environmental Protection (STEP) Meeting entitled, “Partnering on PFAS.” Participants included representatives from state and federal governmental agencies, business and industry, and nonprofits and associations (including ASDWA). The meeting started with a keynote speech and included multiple sessions with short presentations and discussions over the course of two afternoons.

The keynote speech was delivered by Robert Bilott, the attorney and author who exposed the PFAS contamination by DuPont in Parkersburg, West Virginia and inspired the 2019 Dark Waters movie. Mr. Bilott shared the history and timeline of his investigation of and litigation against DuPont for their creation of PFAS and subsequent actions and impacts to human health and the environment. He also talked with meeting participants about the use of litigation to drive corporate responsibility and the need for government actions to conduct comprehensive assessments and ensure remediation of PFAS contamination, so that we don’t repeat the same mistakes that previously led to the contamination from PFOA and PFOS.

The meeting session topics on the first day explored how regulators and stakeholders are coordinating to:

  • Develop overarching state PFAS efforts and actions.
  • Detect and regulate PFAS in different media including drinking water, surface water, groundwater, soil, air, fish tissue, animals, and food.
  • Manage PFAS in wastewater, waste, landfill leachate, biosolids, and agricultural uses for sludge.
  • Consider the best options for treating, removing, disposing, and incinerating PFAS.

On the second day of the meeting, federal agency representatives shared information about their efforts including the:

  • EPA PFAS Action Plan updates on developing regulations, conducting toxicity assessments, developing analytical methods, conducting research, and working with the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine to undertake a review federal agency PFAS research.
  • CDC Agency for Toxic Substances & Disease Registry (ATSDR) health effects investigations and assessment of drinking water exposure with multiple communities in eight states.
  • National Institute of Environmental Health Services (NIEHS) research on human health and exposure.
  • Food & Drug Administration (FDA) testing for PFAS in foods.
  • Department of Defense (DoD) PFAS Task Force research to find alternatives for AFFF (fire-fighting foam) and investigate and mitigate PFAS drinking water impacts near military sites.

Other topics included federal and state restrictions on the use of PFAS in products and in fire-fighting foam; finding alternatives for AFFF and conducting state take-back programs; regulating and addressing PFAS chemicals as a class; controlling and addressing industrial discharges; and continuing these discussions and coordination efforts into the future. For more information, view the ECOS STEP Meeting information here.

ASDWA PFAS Web Page Adds New State Sampling Maps, Action Plans and Resources

July 30, 2020      Drinking Water Headlines, Source Water     

ASDWA has updated our PFAS web page to include a variety of new and existing resources from 16 states in one convenient location. Visit the page at, scroll down and click on the link “State PFAS Sampling Maps – Action Plans – Resources,” to drop down a table displaying the resources in alphabetical order by state. We hope that this collection of state PFAS mapping applications, sampling plans and results, action plans and strategies, as well as ASDWA’s new PFAS Source Water Protection Mapping Guide will be particularly helpful for state drinking water programs that are looking to develop and undertake new PFAS plans and sampling efforts. If you would like to add resources or links from your state to the web page, please send them to Deirdre White of ASDWA at

Colorado Publishes PFAS Drinking Water Sample Results and New Water Quality Standards Policy

July 30, 2020      Drinking Water Headlines     

The Colorado Department of Public Health & Environment (CDPHE) has published its PFAS sampling project results and created a new “Policy for Interpreting the Narrative Water Quality Standards.” Both of these efforts are just part of the state’s PFAS Action Plan to assess and address PFAS throughout the state that can benefit drinking water. The drinking water sample results provide more information about where PFAS is impacting drinking water sources and the new water quality policy can be used to monitor and limit surface water and groundwater discharges to those sources. The drinking water sampling project results are provided through a new data dashboard that shows a map and lists results for 400 drinking water systems and 15 firefighting districts that were tested for the project, as well as 152 groundwater sources and 71 surface water sources. The drinking water systems that were sampled represent about half the number of systems in the state and serve approximately 75 percent of the population. While none of the treated drinking water sample results were above EPA’s health advisory level of 70 parts per trillion (ppt) for PFOA and PFOS, higher levels were found in some groundwater sources where the state will investigate to determine further actions. For more information about Colorado’s PFAS actions, visit the CDPHE website and read the press release here.

EPA Progress on Lead-Free Rule and LCRR

July 30, 2020      Drinking Water Headlines     

On Wednesday (7/29), the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced a final rule to reduce lead in plumbing materials used in public water systems, homes, schools and other facilities that requires manufacturers to get plumbing products certified “lead free” by an accredited third party. The Lead-Free final rule reduces the percentage of lead content allowed in plumbing materials used in new construction and replacement of existing plumbing from eight percent to 0.25 percent in accordance with the Reduction of Lead in Drinking Water Act. The Lead-Free final rule will become effective 30 days after publication in the Federal Register.

EPA also announced that it has sent the final Lead and Copper Rule Revisions (LCRR) to the Office of Management and Budget for interagency review, a significant step towards finalizing the rule.

NEIWPCC SRF Webinar on Climate Resilience to Kick Off New SRF Training Series

July 30, 2020      Drinking Water Headlines, Webinars     

On Tuesday, August 4th from 1:00 – 3:00 pm (eastern time), the New England Interstate Water Pollution Control Council (NEIWPCC) will host the first webinar in their new National State Revolving Fund (SRF) Training Webinar Series. This first webinar will feature speakers from New Hampshire, Maine, and New York, who will share case studies on “Climate Resiliency and Adaptation for Water Infrastructure” and answer questions during a discussion with participants. For more information, visit the NEIWPCC website and register for the webinar here.

ASDWA Testifies at Congressional Hearing on SDWA

July 28, 2020      Drinking Water Headlines     

This morning (7/28), Shellie Chard testified on behalf of ASDWA at a hearing held by the House Subcommittee on Environment & Climate Change of the House Committee on Energy & Commerce titled, “There’s Something in the Water: Reforming Our Nation’s Drinking Water Standards.” Her written testimony is available here.

This hearing was held virtually due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and can be viewed in its entirety here. Many Representatives were present and asked relevant questions during their five minutes for questions. Three witnesses testified at this hearing with five minutes (each) of verbal testimony – Mae Wu with the Natural Resources Defense Council and Diane VanDe Hei with the Association of Metropolitan Water Agencies, in addition to ASDWA. The hearing was an opportunity for Representatives to learn more from the three witnesses on potential revisions to the Safe Drinking Water Act to provide increased public health protection through the standard setting process outlined in section 1412 of the Act. Testimonies and questions covered a broad range of topics including affordability of water service, ability for water systems to achieve compliance, speeding up EPA’s regulatory process, and the role of cost-benefit analysis in SDWA rule-making. ASDWA plans to continue working with the Subcommittee Members as they contemplate potential revisions and legislation.

Week of July 27th – Congressional Updates

July 27, 2020      Drinking Water Headlines     

Fiscal Year 2021 Funding

Last week, the House of Representatives approved the fiscal year 2021 Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies bill, as a part of a larger spending package. In total, the bill includes $36.76 billion in regular appropriations, an increase of $771 million above the FY 2020 enacted level and $15 billion in emergency supplemental appropriations for investments in critical infrastructure.

Highlights of the appropriations include for FY 21:File:US Capitol west side.JPG - Wikimedia Commons

  • Drinking Water State Revolving Loan Fund: $1,126,088,000 (equal to FY2020 enacted)
  • Clean Water State Revolving Loan Fund: $1,638,826,000 (equal to FY2020 enacted)
  • Public Water System Supervision Grants: $117,000,000 (FY2020 enacted – $106,000,000)

Emergency Supplemental Appropriations:

  • Drinking Water State Revolving Loan Fund: $3,855,000,000
  • Clean Water State Revolving Loan Fund: $6,355,000,000

More information is available here: Full Bill Text | Summaries and Highlights

The Senate has yet to develop their own spending proposals. More than likely, we will see stop gap funding through a continuing resolution to keep the government funded come October 1st.

Water Resource Development Act 

This week, the House is expected to approve its version the Water Resources Development Act (WRDA) reauthorization. The House bill focuses on U.S. Army Corps of Engineers policies and project authorizations, while the broader Senate bill passed the Committee but has not yet been brought to the Senate floor for a vote. Lawmakers plan to negotiate a final WRDA agreement this fall.

July 28th House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Energy and Climate Change’s Hearing on the Safe Drinking Water Act

Tomorrow, ASDWA President Shellie Chard will provide testimony at the hearing, titled, “There’s Something in the Water: Reforming Our Nation’s Drinking Water Standards”. The hearing starts at 11 AM EDT and will be streamed on the Committee’s website here.

ASDWA Releases Updated Analysis of State Drinking Water Programs’ Resources and Needs

July 27, 2020      Drinking Water Headlines     

Today (7/27), ASDWA released its updated report (2020 report using 2019 data) on the necessary resources for states and territories to run their drinking water programs and protect public health. This report updates the previous 2011 analysis, and the updated analysis found the funding gap for 2020 to be $375 million, increasing to $469 million in 2029. The funding gap has increased by $197 million since the previous analysis in 2011 due to increasing demands on state programs to address unregulated contaminants such as per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) and harmful algal blooms (HABs), and to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic. The federal share of program funding has decreased by 8% since the previous analysis in 2011. The report also has a short summary of the estimated/predicted impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on state revenues on page 42, as well as some early estimates of ongoing/future reductions in state revenues that will likely become a bigger issue in the second half of 2020 and in 2021 and beyond.

Today is the public release of this report, as it’s being referenced in Hill testimony by Shellie Chard, ASDWA President and Water Quality Division Director at Oklahoma DEQ, at a SDWA hearing by the House Energy and Commerce Committee’s Subcommittee on Environment and Climate Change that is being held tomorrow, Tuesday, July 28, starting at 11 AM EDT, with the title: There’s Something in the Water: Reforming Our Nation’s Drinking Water Standards”. ASDWA’s written testimony for this hearing will be posted on the Committee’s website here.

New Minnesota 3M PFAS Settlement Website Updates and Drinking Water Video

July 27, 2020      Drinking Water Headlines     

The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency and the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, Co-Trustees for the 3M PFAS Settlement have updated their website and created a new video entitled Keeping our drinking water safe. The video helps to explain how safe and reliable drinking water is delivered to those affected by PFAS contamination in the east metropolitan area of Minneapolis and St. Paul. The website was created as part of the February 2018 lawsuit settlement that resulted in a 3M grant of $850 million to address drinking water and natural resources. It also includes materials and presentations from the informational and listening sessions and an interactive map of the priority sampling area. For more information, visit the website here.

ITRC Launches Online Risk Communication Toolkit

July 24, 2020      Drinking Water Headlines     

The Interstate Technology and Regulatory Council (ITRC) has launched its online Risk Communication Toolkit for state personnel, other lead organizations, and stakeholders to understand and communicate risk associated with emerging environmental issues and concerns. The toolkit was developed by three ITRC teams: Per- and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances (PFAS), 1,4-Dioxane, and Harmful Cyanobacterial Blooms (HCBs) and highlights the value of a science-based communication approach. Six sections in the toolkit provide risk communication concepts; steps to develop a risk communication plan and conduct stakeholder outreach; guidance for drafting press releases; and additional tools and case studies.

For more information and to view the toolkit, visit the ITRC website and check out the PFAS Risk Communication training video on the ITRC YouTube channel.

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