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Join ASDWA Online Next Week for the 2020 Annual Conference

October 23, 2020      Drinking Water Headlines, Events     

There’s still time to register for ASDWA’s 2020 Annual Conference!

ASDWA’s 35th Annual Conference will convene state drinking water administrators, EPA, and our water community collogues to explore the current pandemic’s long-term impacts on the national drinking water program, and how the sector is adapting to new ways of doing business to keep their staff and the communities they serve safe. Additional discussions will cover a broad range of issues facing the water community from implementation challenges surrounding the Lead and Copper Rule Revisions (LCRR) to highlighting state experiences managing emerging contaminants.

This year’s event will be held as a series of online sessions between October 26-29, 2020.

Please visit our event page for the latest information and registration: www.asdwa.org/event/annual-conference-2020

 

We look forward to seeing you online next week!


WRF Report on Water Utility Asset Management Framework for Including Forested and Natural Assets

October 23, 2020      Capacity Development, Drinking Water Headlines, Source Water     

The Water Research Foundation (WRF) and the US Endowment for Forestry and Communities have published a new project report entitled, “Asset Management Framework for Forested and Natural Assets.” The purpose is to strengthen water utilities’ capacity to account for, invest in, and better manage their natural assets, by:

  1. Enhancing recognition, quantification, and valuation of the important goods and services provided by forested and other natural assets
  2. Developing a framework for including forests and other natural assets within water utility asset management (AM) programs
  3. Recognizing and addressing the numerous barriers and challenges to placing natural assets on equal footing with built infrastructure within water utility planning and AM programs

You must have or create a WRF website username and password to access the full report, which is free and open to the public.


AWWA Exemplary Source Water Protection Award Nominations Due January 15, 2021

October 21, 2020      Source Water     

Nominations for the American Water Works Association (AWWA) Exemplary Source Water Protection Award are due on January 15, 2021. State drinking water programs are encouraged to nominate your water systems for this award, where winners will be announced at the 2021 AWWA Annual Conference & Exposition. AWWA issues up to three awards each year for different sized water systems to recognize their exemplary source water protection programs. Water systems may self-nominate or be nominated by an AWWA member, regulatory agency responsible for source water protection, a local chapter of the National Rural Water Association, or regional authorities, who may be able to help with completing the applications for awards, particularly for small water systems.

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. In addition to how well a source water protection program satisfies each of the six program components for the AWWA Standard, nominees will also be evaluated on the following three criteria: 1) Effectiveness of the program; 2) Innovative approaches; and 3) Difficulties overcome.

For more information about the award, previous award recipients, eligibility and submission criteria, and the entry form, visit the AWWA website. If you have additional questions regarding the application process, or need help completing the form, please contact Randy Easley, Exemplary Source Water Protection Award Chair at: randy.easley@carkw.com, or (501) 210-4935.


ASDWA Publishes New PFAS Laboratory Testing Primer and Technical Bulletin

October 20, 2020      Drinking Water Headlines, Source Water     

ASDWA has published two new per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) documents entitled, “Laboratory Testing Primer for State Drinking Water Programs and Public Water Systems,” and “Technical Bulletin to Laboratories Reporting PFAS Analysis Using EPA Methods 533, 537, or 537.1.”

Lab Primer: The ASDWA PFAS Laboratory Testing Primer for State Drinking Water Programs and Public Water Systems was developed for ASDWA by the New Hampshire Drinking Water and Groundwater Bureau and reviewed by the Association of Public Health Laboratories (APHL) and multiple state drinking water, laboratory, and laboratory accreditation programs across the nation. It provides guidance on how state drinking water programs can work with laboratories to test PFAS in drinking water samples collected from public water systems. The document provides information on eight topics:

  1. Selecting an analytical method
  2. Finding a qualified laboratory
  3. Specifying a PFAS list and the form that each PFAS needs to be reported in
  4. Specifying reporting limits
  5. Sample collection procedures
  6. Technical issues that cause variability in testing results
  7. Interpreting results
  8. USEPA’s ongoing work to develop new analytical methods

Technical Bulletin: The ASDWA Technical Bulletin to Laboratories Reporting PFAS Analysis Using EPA Methods 533, 537, or 537.1 was developed in partnership with the APHL to alert laboratories to inconsistencies when reporting analytical results for PFAS. State drinking water and laboratory programs can share this bulletin with their laboratories to ensure that test reports and electronic data deliverables, including those submitted by subcontracted laboratories, are:

  • Following the EPA Reference Methods naming conventions for each PFAS form with the exact chemical name and CAS number
  • Using anionic and acid form names correctly, and not interchangeably
  • Addressing reporting issues with PFAS forms that share a common acronym or conversely, the same PFAS are named with different acronyms

For more information about PFAS and ASDWA’s PFAS efforts, go to www.asdwa.org/pfas.


EPA Appoints New Members to Science Advisory Board and Subcommittees

October 20, 2020      Drinking Water Headlines     

On Monday (10/19), EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler announced the selection of Dr. John Graham as the new Chair of the Science Advisory Board (SAB) and Dr. Barbara Beck as SAB Vice-Chair. Wheeler also announced the appointment of members who will serve on the Science Advisory Board (SAB) and four subcommittees including; the Agricultural Science Committee (ASC), the Chemical Assessment Advisory Committee (CAAC), the Drinking Water Committee (DWC), and the Radiation Advisory Committee (RAC). Dr. Graham has served as a member of the SAB for the past three years. He is a professor in the School of Public and Environmental Affairs (SPEA) at Indiana University (Bloomington and Indianapolis) and served as Dean from 2008 – 2019. His previous academic roles include Dean of the Pardee RAND Graduate School in California (2006-2008) and tenured Professor of Policy and Decision Sciences at the Harvard School of Public Health (1985-2001), where he founded and led the Harvard Center for Risk Analysis. At the request of President George W. Bush, Dr. Graham also served in the Executive Office of the President as Administrator of the U.S. Office of Management and Budget’s Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (2001-2006). Dr. Beck has also served as a member of the SAB for the past two years and is a principal at Gradient, Inc.

The three new DWC appointees are Bill Becker from Hazen and Sawyer, PC, Brian Hughes from NSF International, and Katherine Hughes from the American Public Health Association (APHA).

 

 


Community-Based Water Resilience: Keep Vital Services Flowing

October 20, 2020      Drinking Water Headlines, Security     

As all state drinking water regulatory agencies know, communities rely on the availability of clean and safe drinking water. Water infrastructure is typically hidden from view, buried underground, or tucked away down little-traveled roads or in less-visited parts of town. For many, fire hydrants, utility holes, and the occasional water tower with the school mascot painted on the side might be all that the public sees of the vast network of assets that comprise water infrastructure. Most people in the community have no reason to give these services a second thought.

Drinking water systems are vulnerable to various threats and challenges, from contamination and natural disasters to aging infrastructure. Even a water main break can result in pressure loss and a boil water advisory. Such a situation negatively impacts a community in multiple ways, including temporary business closures (e.g., restaurants) and operational problems for healthcare facilities (e.g., dialysis clinics). It takes time for both the state and utility to “clear” the system for normal operations after making repairs. Incidents like this can make a community painfully aware of its reliance on drinking water services and remind the community that they need contingency plans in place. This is where state resources and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (US EPA) Community-Based Water Resiliency resources and tools can help.

What is Community-Based Water Resiliency (CBWR)? CBWR helps identify the critical interdependencies between water utilities and other sectors within a community and promotes cross-sector relationships essential to create and maintain resiliency. For example, the healthcare and public health sector relies on water extensively. Hospital surgeons must scrub before procedures, and autoclaves need water to sterilize medical instruments. If drinking water services are interrupted, what is the hospital’s contingency plan? Are facility managers in contact with their local water utility to understand when service interruptions are likely to occur? Do they know who to contact at the utility if they have questions about service interruptions? The water sector also relies on the healthcare and public health sector. Hospitals and healthcare providers may be the first to detect a potential drinking water contamination problem within a community if patients arriving at hospitals and clinics complain of similar symptoms that suggest a water-borne cause. A water utility would want to know that information as soon as possible to begin water quality investigations and initiate appropriate operational response actions.

Another example of a critical interdependency is with the emergency services sector, whose role is to save lives, protect property and the environment, assist communities impacted by disasters, and aid recovery during emergencies. This sector includes law enforcement, fire and rescue services, emergency medical services, emergency management agencies, and public works. Emergency services rely on water services for fire protection, shelter operations, and hazardous materials response. At the same time, water utilities rely on emergency services for incident response support, such as providing alternate drinking water and helping to alert the public regarding water use advisories. A resilient community will ensure that both the water and emergency services sectors coordinate plans and procedures regularly to protect residents and businesses.

The healthcare and public health and emergency services sectors are not the only sectors interdependent on water. Others include the energy, food and agriculture, chemical, and transportation system and communication sectors. Water utilities need energy to operate, food and agriculture need water for food processing, water utilities need treatment chemicals, transportation needs water to clean vehicles between shipments, and the communication sector needs water for cooling equipment. But how can states help promote working relationships between all these critical sectors and ensure that information is exchanged between water utilities and others?

One step the state, water utilities and communities can take together is to host a water emergency workshop. CBWR includes a Water Resiliency Action Plan Kit, which can be found inside EPA’s Community-Based Water Resiliency Guide. This kit guides a workshop sponsor (e.g., state and a utility) and its partners in establishing a multi-discipline workshop planning team to develop and host a community workshop. It includes resources that can be used to prepare for and conduct the workshop: a planning checklist, sample agendas, an invitation list and invitation template, and other useful documents. A workshop brings together stakeholders to discuss goals, challenges, and roles and responsibilities in water emergency preparedness. The event’s purpose is to provide a highly interactive forum to discuss how to improve overall community resiliency to water service interruptions. By working together before an emergency, the state, drinking water utility, interdependent sectors, and community can be better prepared.

A workshop participant, Perry Dahlstrom of Golden State Water Company, underscored the importance of interdependent sectors coming together: “During my 40-year career in the utility sector, I have found that there is great value from collaborating with others. When we work with others, knowledge and past experiences are exchanged and that is where the added value comes from. Additionally, we can establish new contacts so you have somebody you can connect with later, during an emergency or not. All who participate in emergency response and service restoration play a vital role in our societal community needs. The end goal is to provide the best service at all times. Any time we can leverage our learning and knowledge gain, we should take advantage of the opportunity. Please take the opportunity to participate in a Community-Based Water Resiliency workshop and you will be better prepared and be able to provide a higher level of service to the community that you serve.”

To learn more about CBWR, take the Water Sector Interdependencies and Community-Based Water Resiliency Training available from EPA at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j305S431Y5E&feature=youtu.be. This 30-minute online training covers the topics of water and wastewater systems interdependencies, scenarios, and EPA’s Community-Based Water Resiliency Guide. The training will increase awareness of interdependencies and promote proactive community-level preparedness for water-related emergencies. With an increased understanding of relationships between the water sector and other critical infrastructure sectors, state drinking water regulatory staff can help utilities and their communities to prepare for water service interruptions successfully.


ITRC Releases New and Updated PFAS and Risk Communication Fact Sheets

October 15, 2020      Drinking Water Headlines     

The Interstate Technology and Regulatory Council (ITRC) has announced the release of new and updated PFAS and risk communication fact sheets. These include 11 PFAS fact sheets and one Risk Communication Toolkit fact sheet with updated content to replace the older and longer fact sheets on topics such as naming conventions, regulations, fate and transport, sampling and lab methods, site characterization, treatment technologies, and more. For more information, view the announcement with links to the new and updated fact sheets and relevant ITRC web pages.


Upcoming Webinar on EPA’s Updated Water Operator Hiring and Contracting Guide

October 15, 2020      Drinking Water Headlines     

EPA is hosting an upcoming webinar next month on its updated Water Operator Hiring and Contracting Guide. This webinar will discuss how state or primacy agencies should customize the Guide specific to their state and operator requirements.  This webinar will also highlight how public water system decision makers can use the Water Operator Hiring and Contracting Guide to hire or contract the right operator for their water system.

By understanding how to select an operator, and what to expect from them, decision makers can ensure that the public water system complies with all state and federal regulations and delivers safe drinking water to their customers. This guide offers suggestions on how to find the right operator for the system, helps decision makers communicate with operators about water system responsibilities, and assists decision makers with documenting their expectations for the operation of the water system.

DATE: Wednesday, November 4

TIME: 12:30pm-2:00pm (Eastern)

REGISTERClick here

The Water Operator Hiring and Contracting Guide can be downloaded here.


ASDWA President Selected to Serve on WEF Board of Trustees

October 14, 2020      Drinking Water Headlines     

Shellie Chard, ASDWA President for 2020 and the Water Quality Division Director for the Oklahoma Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ), has been chosen to serve on the Board of Trustees for the Water Environment Federation (WEF). “It is such a great honor to serve on the WEF Board of Trustees. This will allow me to influence national and international water policy and work to develop innovative solutions to water problems of today and the future. This is a unique opportunity to serve the broader water sector while continuing to champion water issues that are important to Oklahoma”, said Chard.

The Water Environment Federation (WEF) is a not-for-profit technical and educational organization of 35,000 individual members and 75 affiliated Member Associations representing water quality professionals around the world. Since 1928, WEF and its members have protected public health and the environment. As a global water sector leader, its mission is to connect water professionals; enrich the expertise of water professionals; increase the awareness of the impact and value of water; and provide a platform for water sector innovation.


President Signs New Executive Order on Modernizing America’s Water Resource Management and Water Infrastructure

October 14, 2020      Drinking Water Headlines     

Yesterday (10/13), President Trump signed an Executive Order (EO), “Modernizing America’s Water Resource Management and Water Infrastructure,” to drive Federal coordination on water policy (EO factsheet is also available). The EO establishes a Water Subcabinet of senior Federal agency officials to facilitate management and modernization of the Nation’s water sources and systems, help eliminate duplication between agencies, promote integrated planning, and support and enhance workforce development for water sector professionals. The Water Subcabinet will be led by the U.S. Department of the Interior  and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, and will include representatives from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the Department of Commerce, the Department of Energy, and the Department of the Army, working in coordination with the White House Council on Environmental Quality, the Office of Management and Budget, and the Office of Science and Technology Policy. The Water Subcabinet is responsible for developing a national water strategy to enhance water storage, water supply, and drought resiliency; improve water quality, source water protection, nutrient management, and restoration activities; support the innovation and modernization of water systems; and advance water data management, research, modeling, and forecasting.


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