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ECOS Webinar on Innovative DWSRF Uses to Assist Small Systems

March 21, 2019      Drinking Water Headlines     

As part of its continuing effort to show how states are effectively leveraging drinking water financing options, the Environmental Council of States (ECOS) is offering a free webinar on innovative uses of the Drinking Water State Revolving Funds (DWSRF) to assist small systems. The webinar will be held on April 17, 2019, from 2:00-3:30 EDT.   The webinar will feature speakers from Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation, Connecticut Department of Health, and Oregon HealthAuthority on innovative ways their respective programs have utilized the DWSRF to assist small water systems, follow this link for more information: ECOS DWSRF Webinar Flyer. Anyone interested in viewing the webinar can register here: webinar registration.

EPA Publishes 2018 State Asset Management Initiatives Document

March 21, 2019      Capacity Development, Small Systems     

EPA’s Sustainable Systems Team has published the 2018 State Asset Management Initiatives Document. This document is an update to the 2012 document and is for state agencies to learn about the various state asset management promotion initiatives. The categories of initiatives include funding, regulatory, assistance, and internal activities. The document also shows an increase of twenty states promoting asset management through funding initiatives since the 2012 version. This information should be helpful for states as they think ahead about the new America’s Water Infrastructure Act (AWIA) requirements that will now mandate state primacy agencies to provide a description of how they will encourage water systems to develop asset management plans and provide technical assistance in their triennial capacity development reports. To view and download the document, visit EPA’s website.

EPA Posts Pre-Publication Info on New Risk Assessment and Response Plan Requirements

March 20, 2019      Drinking Water Headlines     

EPA’s Office of Ground Water and Drinking Water has posted a pre-publication Federal Register notice that outlines requirements for community water systems to meet their risk and resilience assessment and emergency response plan responsibilities under the America’s Water Infrastructure Act (AWIA) of 2018.  Please note that this is not the final or official version of this document.  Rather, it should be considered as informational.  A final Federal Register Notice will be published at a later date.

Click this link to view the pre-publication Federal Register Notice.

The notice includes EPA’s plan to publish additional resources and tools for community water systems prior to August 1, 2019, such as:  baseline information on malevolent acts; technical assistance fact sheets; and a new version of the EPA VSAT and ERP guidance relevant to the AWIA amendments.  Finally, the notice outlines how community water systems can certify the completion of these documents to EPA and how water systems may request the return of their older vulnerability assessment submissions.

Senate EPW to Hold PFAS Hearing Next Week

March 19, 2019      Drinking Water Headlines     

On Thursday, March 28th at 10:00 am (eastern), the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works (EPW) will hold a hearing entitled, “Examining the federal response to the risks associated with per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS).” While there is no agenda posted yet, ASDWA has learned that the witnesses will most likely be David Ross from EPA, Maureen Sullivan from DoD, Pat Breysse from ATSDR, and Linda Birnbaum from NIH. It is also likely the hearing will be broadcast via live webinar. For more information as it becomes available, visit the EPW website here.

New Finance Learning Modules from EPA

March 19, 2019      Drinking Water Headlines     

EPA’s Water Infrastructure and Resiliency Finance Center (WIRFC) has completed several updates to their Water Finance Clearinghouse. These updates provide new information on funding, financing, and other resources for the water infrastructure sector.

As part of these updates, the Center released the first three Water Finance Learning Modules, hosted on the Clearinghouse. These in-depth, step-by-step water finance guides provide users with information on funding and financing options to support communities’ water infrastructure decision-making. These first modules focus on the drinking water and clean water state revolving funds (SRFs), the Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (WIFIA), and Financing Septic Systems.

For more information about WIRFC, please click this link EPA’s Water Infrastructure and Resiliency Finance Center.




Water Organizations Push for Water Research Funding

March 19, 2019      Drinking Water Headlines, Legislative     

A group of 10 water organizations, including AWWA, WEF, NAWC, as well as RCAP and ASCE, are requesting additional funding from Congress for water-related research.  The appeal is contained in a letter (attached below) to the chair and ranking member of both the House and Senate Appropriations Subcommittees covering EPA’s budget. The letter points out the great need for water-related research and the relatively small percentage of EPA’s research budget that goes to water research, especially applied research that directly benefits water utilities.  The groups encourage the appropriators to increase funding for two specific research programs.  They recommend increasing the National Priorities Water Research grant program to $20 million and fully funding the Innovative Water Technologies grant program at $10 million for 2020.

Although the letter does not mention it, the President’s proposed 2020 budget would make drastic cuts to EPA’s research budget.  The budget proposal zeros out the Water Quality Research and Support Grants and makes significant cuts to Safe and Sustainable Water Resources research.  This makes the support of Congress even more critical to providing robust research for the future of the water sector.


ASDWA Submits Written Testimony on FY 2020 Funding to House Committee on Appropriations

March 19, 2019      Drinking Water Headlines     

As the fiscal year 2020 funding conversations escalate in Congress, ASDWA submitted written testimony to the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies last week. The testimony highlights the need for sustained and increased federal support to maintain public health protection and to support the work of state drinking water programs. ASDWA requested the following appropriations for 2020:

  • $125 million for the Public Water System Supervision (PWSS) program;
  • $1.30 billion for the Drinking Water State Revolving Loan Fund (DWSRF) program; and
  • $45 million for three drinking water grant programs to address lead in schools and communities

ASDWA will be working with the Senate Committee on Appropriations to submit testimony as they develop appropriations bills as well. ASDWA staff has been meeting with Appropriations Committee staff from both sides of Congress to provide additional information beyond the written testimonies.

Appropriations May Get an Earlier Start this Year

March 19, 2019      Legislative     

This year, House Appropriations Committee Chair Nita Lowey (D-NY) is seriously considering beginning markups for FY 20 appropriations funding as soon as the end of April.  While nothing definite is, as yet, on the schedule, the goal is to have bills ready for the Floor in June.  This, hopefully, would give enough time for the measures to work their way through both Chambers and be ready for final passage before the end of the Federal fiscal year in September.

The House Appropriations proposed strategy is to couple bills into smaller packages, similar to last year’s minibus approach.  First in line are likely to be funding bills for Energy & Water, Military Construction, and the Legislative Branch.  No information is available as to when Interior-EPA might be taken up.  The Senate Appropriations Committee has not publicly shared any scheduling information.

ASDWA Submits Comments on National Compliance Initiative to EPA

March 18, 2019      Drinking Water Headlines     

Last week, ASDWA submitted comments on EPA’s recommendations for its National Compliance Initiatives (NCIs) for 2020-2023. As previously reported, ASDWA has been working with EPA’s Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assistance (OECA) throughout the process of developing the NCIs. This set of comments responds to the NCI to increase compliance with drinking water standards.

EPA feels that current approaches and tools have not always been effective in achieving compliance and they want to work with states to improve compliance and provide better public health protection.  This initiative would also support the goal in EPA’s Strategic Plan to reduce the number of community water systems out of compliance with health-based violations by 25% by 2022. ASDWA’s comments encourage EPA to ensure the NCI:

  • does not trigger additional reporting requirements from state programs
  • includes an action plan for identified problem areas and clear expectations for state actions for any tools that are developed as a part of this effort
  • is deployed with states that volunteer to partner with OECA on these efforts

ASDWA’s comments also encourage OECA to:

  • Work together with the Office of Water and the strategic breakthrough measure;
  • Share and learn from states’ existing tools;
  • Recognize states resource needs in this conversation;
  • Focus on targeting the largest populations;
  • Acknowledge data discrepancies; and
  • Explore approaches to returning community water systems to compliance and preventing non-compliance.

ASDWA staff will continue to coordinate with EPA throughout the NCI process, including conversations between states and EPA at the upcoming ASDWA Member Meeting in Alexandria, VA.

2019 Private Well Conference to be Held in May

March 17, 2019      Meetings and Conferences, Small Systems, Source Water     

Join RCAP Partner, the Private Well Class at the 2019 Private Well Conference from May 21-23, 2019 in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. This conference aims to bring together experts and practitioners to share their successes and experience for the benefit of the private well community. The agenda will feature expert talks and panels with public health and groundwater professionals; share information about new and emerging issues and national partnerships; discuss common well problems, outreach, and education; and explore options for private system treatment. For more information and to register, GO HERE.

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