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NDWAC CCR December Meeting Summary

December 3, 2021      Drinking Water Headlines     

This week, the National Drinking Water Advisory Council (NDWAC) held two meetings on December 1st and 2nd discussing advice and recommendations for EPA on targeted issues related to revisions to the Consumer Confidence Report (CCR) Rule.

The NDWAC reviewed the Report of the Consumer Confidence Report Rule Revision Working Group to the National Drinking Water Advisory Council, voting on consensus suggestions and non-consensus additional guidance (formerly “non-consensus recommendations”) that will move forward to EPA for decision-making. The NDWAC will move forward with the recommendations and non-consensus additional guidance outlined in the above report, noting that over the past two days the Council did add in new language and hold discussion that is not reflected in the linked version. Below is a short summary that includes some of the discussion during the meeting, and the new language and changes in both the consensus suggestions and non-consensus additional guidance. Please visit the above link for more detail on all of the Council’s recommendations.

  1. Advancing Environmental Justice and Supporting Underserved Communities
    • CCR access to renters and non-billpaying customers needs to be improved, potentially through postcards.
    • The primacy agency role in addressing underserved communities will be recognized and encouraged.
    • Template use and generation by the primacy agency should be encouraged.
    • Further differing opinions were added to the non-consensus additional guidance regarding additional information being included in the CCR (financial information), with those opposed feeling this would not be appropriate for the CCR.
  2. Improving Readability, Understandability, Clarity, Accuracy of Information, and Risk Communication of CCRs
    • Language on a potential summary page for sample locations will be less specific to address security concerns.
    • Additional differing opinions on the use of units in the CCR were added to the non-consensus additional guidance. Some members of the NDWAC felt units should be consistent with those used by the water system in Primacy Agency reports, while others maintained that this may be confusing for the public.
  3. Addressing accessibility challenges, including translating CCRs and meeting Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) requirements.
    • Verification of CCR translation will be difficult and create burden for primacy agencies.
    • Translation flexibility is needed for small systems.
    • Defining “best effort” to address accessibility challenges is necessary.
  4. CCR Delivery Manner and Methods, Including Electronic Delivery
    • Council members continued to disagree on whether the CCR biannual delivery will be the same or include new information. Arguments for the same information added that the CCR could include a statement and contact information that customers could use to obtain the most current testing results.
    • Discussion was held on potentially using schools and daycares to deliver water system information to legal guardians.

The Report will be adjusted to reflect the new language and discussion described above before being sent to Administrator Regan.


Congress Passes Spending Bill to Avert Government Shutdown

December 3, 2021      Drinking Water Headlines, Legislative     

On December 2, Congress passed a Continuing Resolution to fund the government through February 18, 2022, which President Biden signed early Friday. The passage of the Further Extending Government Funding Act (H.R. 6119) narrowly avoids the federal government shutdown deadline of midnight December 3.

Now Congress must turn to address the looming issue of raising the debt ceiling. The Department of the Treasury has warned Congress that the debt ceiling must be raised to avoid default. Democrats are still considering a plan forward, including using the reconciliation process, which would allow them to pass the measure without Republican support. It is likely that the Democrats will aim to extend the debt ceiling through December 2022, after midterms and before the new Congress.

The Senate also continues plans to take up and pass its version of the Build Back Better Act before the self-imposed Christmas deadline, however it is likely that work on the bill could continue into the new year as debate continues over a multitude of issues including the overall price tag, as well as the bill’s four weeks of paid family leave and Medicare hearing coverage.


EPA Sends BIL Implementation Letter to Governors and D.C. Mayor

December 2, 2021      Drinking Water Headlines     

On Thursday, December 2nd,  EPA Administrator Regan sent a letter (a sample letter is below) to the Governors of the 55 states and territories and the Mayor of the District of Columbia with his priorities and commitments for implementation of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL). This letter includes the Fiscal Year (FY) 2022 allocation of BIL water infrastructure funding through the State Revolving Funds (SRFs) – it’s a significant amount of money. The state-by-state breakdown is a total of all FY22 water infrstructure funding, and is not broken down by the different intended uses (traditional SRFs, lead service line replacements, treatment for emerging contaminants, disadvantaged communities, etc.) of this federal funding. Those breakdowns are expected to be released by EPA next week. ASDWA’s summary of this bill can be found here.

Going forward, EPA is planning multiple engagements with the water sector on BIL implementation. Assistant Administrator for Water Radhika Fox has committed to ongoing stakeholder outreach as all in the water sector will need to work together on the planning, engineering and construction of the significant number of water projects thht will result from the BIL funding.

Governors’ BIL Letter – Sample


EPA Provides Updates on PFAS Health Advisories and MDBPs at NDWAC Meeting

December 2, 2021      Drinking Water Headlines     

The National Drinking Water Advisory Council (NDWAC), provides EPA with advice and recommendations related to the national drinking water program, met virtually on December 2nd and 3rd.

While the meeting primarily focused on developing advice and recommendations to EPA on Consumer Confidence Report rule revisions, EPA provided updates to the Council on PFAS health advisories under development and a new charge to the NDWAC requesting that the Council provide the agency with advice and recommendations on key issues related to potential revisions to Microbial and Disinfection Byproducts (MDBP) rules.

The charge to the NDWAC and the solicitation of nominations for the MDBP Rule Revisions Working Group can be found under NDWAC working groups. EPA is accepting nominations for the NDWAC MDBP working group through December 13th. The agency is seeking consensus recommendations and advice on key issues related to the MDBP rules from an EPA NDWAC MDBP workgroup. The Agency plans to provide targeted technical analysis support to help ensure equitable technical expertise for all perspectives represented on the workgroup, which will include representatives from state and tribal officials, public water systems of varied sizes, and environmental and public interest groups. Working group meetings will begin in Spring 2022 and continue through Summer 2023. EPA anticipates holding between eight and fifteen meetings, likely bi-monthly and virtual, though in-person meetings will be evaluated. All meetings will be open to the public. EPA’s goal is to propose amended rules (if applicable) by July 2024.

Earlier this year, EPA released final human health toxicity assessments for two PFAS: GenX chemicals (HPFO) and PFBS. EPA is developing health advisories for these two chemicals and completing those in Spring 2022.  EPA is working on an additional five toxicity assessments for PFAS chemicals. EPA is also planning to update the PFOA and PFOS health advisories based on the updated toxicity values currently being reviewed by the Science Advisory Board. The Agency is planning to update their website to include information on health advisories that are under development.


EPA Seeking Nominations for NDWAC MDBP Rules Revisions Working Group

November 30, 2021      Drinking Water Headlines     

On November 12th, EPA published a Federal Register notice seeking nominations for a new Working Group under the National Drinking Water Advisory Council (NDWAC) that will work to develop consensus recommendations for revisions to the Microbial and Disinfection By-Products (MDBP) Rules. The Working Group process is anticipated to begin in the spring of 2022 and last through mid-2023. With all of the complexities in balancing the microbial and disinfection by-product (DBP) risks, as well as the lack of substantive new data on health effects, occurrence, and risks, developing consensus recommendations will be challenging, even with quality facilitation. EPA’s request for nominations closes on Monday, December 13th, and nominations should be submitted to MDBPRevisions@epa.gov.

On a related note, the NDWAC has a scheduled meeting on December 1st and 2nd, and additional information on that meeting can be found here.


Nominate Your Water Systems for the AWWA Exemplary Source Water Protection Award

November 18, 2021      Drinking Water Headlines, Source Water     

Each year, the American Water Works Association (AWWA) issues up to three Exemplary Source Water Protection Awards to recognize water systems that have developed and are implementing exemplary source water protection programs. These awards are made to small and large water systems in different size categories based on population served. Organizations may self-nominate or be nominated by the state source water protection program, an AWWA member, a local chapter of the National Rural Water Association, or regional authorities. AWWA is specifically seeking help to nominate small water systems with either surface water or ground water sources.

Nominations are judged on how well a water system meets the six components of AWWA’s G300 Source Water Protection Standard: 1) program vision; 2) source water characterization; 3) source water protection goals; 4) development of an Action Plan; 5) implementation of the Action Plan; and 6) periodic evaluation and revision of the entire program, as well as program effectiveness, innovative approaches, and difficulties overcome.

Award applications must be submitted by January 15, 2022. If you have any questions or suggestions, please contact Randy Easley, the Exemplary Source Water Protection Award Chair, at randy.easley@carkw.com. More information about the award, including previous award recipients, eligibility and submission criteria, and the entry form, may be accessed via https://www.awwa.org/MembershipVolunteering/Awards/Exemplary-Source-Water-Protection-Award.


EPA New FITS Funding Integration Tool for Source Water

November 18, 2021      Drinking Water Headlines, Source Water     

EPA has released its new Funding Integration Tool for Source Water (FITS) to help states, tribes and territories navigate and leverage funding opportunities for activities that protect sources of drinking water. FITS is a web-based, interactive tool that includes information on eleven federal funding sources and outlines how they may be used for activities related to source water protection planning and implementation. EPA worked across the federal government and with states, stakeholders, and partner organizations (including ASDWA) to create the tool that provides tips for long-term cross-program planning and includes examples on how these funding sources have been leveraged in the past. For more information and to use FITS, visit the EPA website.


EPA Announces NDWAC Meetings to Discuss CCR Recommendations

November 18, 2021      Drinking Water Headlines     

This week, EPA announced in a Federal Register notice that the full National Drinking Water Advisory Council (NDWAC) will hold virtual meetings on December 1 from 10:30 am to 5:30 pm (ET) and on December 2 from 10:00 am to 5:30 pm (ET) to “primarily” focus on discussing NDWAC recommendations for Consumer Confidence Report (CCR) rule revisions that will be submitted to EPA. Click here to register.

Members of the public are invited to provide oral or written statement. For more information on the previous and upcoming meetings and process for submitting a statement, click here.


EPA Publishes Four New Draft Documents on Health Effects of PFOA and PFOS for SAB PFAS Review Panel

November 16, 2021      Drinking Water Headlines     

EPA has developed and provided four new draft documents to the Science Advisory Board (SAB) PFAS Review Panel with recent scientific data and new analyses that indicate negative health effects may occur at much lower levels of exposure to PFOA and PFOS than previously understood, and that PFOA is a likely carcinogen. The draft documents include:

  • EPA’s Proposed Approaches to the Derivation of a Draft Maximum Contaminant Level Goal for PFOA in Drinking Water
  • EPA’s Proposed Approaches to the Derivation of a Draft Maximum Contaminant Level Goal for PFOS in Drinking Water
  • EPA’s Draft Framework for Estimating Noncancer Health Risks Associated with Mixtures of PFAS
  • EPA’s Analysis of Cardiovascular Disease Risk Reduction as a Result of Reduced PFOA and PFOS Exposure in Drinking Water

EPA is now seeking independent scientific review of these documents. Following the peer review, the agency will use the information in these documents to issue updated health advisories for PFOA and PFOS that reflect this new science and input from the SAB. Concurrently, EPA will develop Maximum Contaminant Level Goals, and continue to develop a proposed PFAS National Primary Drinking Water Regulation for publication in Fall 2022.

In addition, EPA will be working with partners to support PFAS monitoring and remediation efforts, and use of the $10 billion in new funding from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law to help communities test for and clean up PFAS and other emerging contaminants in drinking water and wastewater, and that can be used to support projects in disadvantaged communities.

For more information, read the press release, view the documents on the SAB website, and visit the EPA PFAS website.


President Biden to Sign $1 Trillion Infrastructure Bill Today

November 15, 2021      Drinking Water Headlines     

Today at 3 p.m. eastern, President Biden is scheduled to sign into law the Bipartisan Infrastructure Deal, H.R. 3684, the “Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act”. The sweeping bipartisan infrastructure package is the largest investment in the nation’s infrastructure in The White Housedecades, with $1.2 trillion for public transportation, roads, bridges, ports, railways, power grids, broadband internet, and water systems. The $55 billion in water infrastructure funding will go towards lead service line removal, tackling PFAS contamination, and needed infrastructure improvements for water and wastewater systems. You can watch the live signing here: President Biden Signs into Law Bipartisan Infrastructure Deal – YouTube.


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