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ASDWA Provides Support for EPA’s Build America, Buy America Waiver for WIFIA Projects with Design Already Underway

May 20, 2022      Drinking Water Headlines, DWSRF     

Today (May 20), ASDWA submitted comments to EPA on a waiver for the requirements under Build America, Buy America (BABA). The Agency proposed to waive BABA requirements for Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (WIFIA) borrowers that initiated project design plans prior to May 14, 2022 – the day that BABA went into effect. ASDWA’s comments support the waiver and provide additional recommendations for the Agency, including:
  • Providing additional waivers for BABA requirements, in limited circumstances, for the BIL funds moving through the drinking water state revolving fund (DWSRF) programs and consider using a population cutoff for projects to qualify.
  • Provide a more explicit explanation as to what funds must comply with the BABA requirements.
  • Consider using similar waivers for the Davis-Bacon (DB) Act requirements.
ASDWA’s letter stresses that the Association “believes in the principles of BABA and DB; however, these requirements make the DWSRF process insurmountable for many small systems that need the funding the most.”

Register for the 6th National Capacity Development and Operator Certification Workshop

May 20, 2022      Drinking Water Headlines     

EPA and ASDWA will be hosting the 6th Annual National Capacity Development and Operator Certification Workshop on August 10-12 in Alexandria, VA. This meeting is designed for in-person attendance; however, there will be one short afternoon listening session on Wednesday and Thursday for virtual attendees. Topics to be discussed will include: contract operators, promoting asset management, targeting disadvantaged systems, retaining and recruiting workforce, and more.

Registration for the Workshop is free, and ASDWA will also be providing a limited amount of state staff travel support. For more information and to register, reserve a hotel room, and submit a request for state travel support, visit the event webpage here.

EPA Adds Five New PFAS to List of Risk-Based Values to Help Agency Determine if Response or Remediation is Needed

May 20, 2022      Drinking Water Headlines     

On May 18, the EPA added five additional per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances to the Agency’s Regional Screening and Removal Management Levels to Protect Human Health and the Environment. The list provides risk-based values that help EPA determine if response or remediation activities and actions are needed, such as sampling, assessing risks, or providing alternative drinking water. It is important to note that these values are not cleanup standards. According to the Agency’s news release, this action will provide EPA “with critical tools needed for Superfund and other Agency programs to investigate contamination and protect people from these PFAS chemicals using the latest peer-reviewed science.” EPA reviews and updates these risk-based values twice a year and may add additional PFAS in the future. Perfluorobutanesulfonic acid (PFBS) was already included on this list. The five new PFAS are:

  • Hexafluoropropylene oxide dimer acid and its ammonium salt (HFPO-DA or GenX)
  • Perfluorooctanesulfonic acid (PFOS)
  • Perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA)
  • Perfluorononanoic acid (PFNA)
  • Perfluorohexanesulfonic acid (PFHxS)


EPA Announces $1.9 billion in State Revolving Loan Funds to Upgrade Water Infrastructure Nationwide

May 16, 2022      Drinking Water Headlines, DWSRF     

Late last Friday (May 13), EPA announced $1.9 billion in new base federal grant funding to the State Revolving Funds (SRF). These funds are split between the Clean Water SRF (CWSRF) and the Drinking Water SRF (DWSRF), with the two programs receiving $1.2 billion and $728 million, respectively. These base allotment amounts for both programs reflect the appropriation of $1,638,826,000 (CWSRF) and $1,126,088,000 (DWSRF) reduced by the funds directed by Congress towards Community Project Funding/Congressionally Directed Spending projects, colloquially referred to as earmarks.

This base federal grant funding is separate from the money both programs will receive in FY 2022 from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL). Under the BIL, the CWSRF program will receive an additional $2 billion, and the DWSRF will receive an additional $5.7 billion. The Agency touts that this funding “will help states, Tribes, and territories upgrade water infrastructure to provide safe drinking water, protect vital water resources, and create thousands of new jobs in communities across the country.”

See the breakdown of the 2022 Base CWSRF Allotment

See the breakdown of the 2022 Base DWSRF Allotment

APHL Naegleria Fowleri Webinar with Texas and Louisiana

May 12, 2022      Drinking Water Headlines, Webinars     

On Wednesday, May 25, 2022, from 3:00 – 4:00 pm (eastern time), the Association of Public Health Laboratories (APHL) will host a webinar to share Texas and Louisiana examples of Public health response to municipal water-associated Naegleria fowleri cases. This amoeba can grow in warm, fresh water and can cause serious harm if contaminated water enters the body through the nose. During the webinar, speakers from the Louisiana Department of Health and the Texas Department of State Health Services will share examples of how they have responded to municipal water-associated cases of Naegleria fowleri. Register for the webinar here.

DoD Temporarily Prohibits the Incineration of Materials Containing PFAS

May 10, 2022      Drinking Water Headlines     

In April, the Department of Defense (DoD) announced a temporary prohibition on the incineration of materials containing per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), “including Aqueous Film Forming Foam concentrate, rinsate, water mixtures, and any PFAS-containing media recovered during DoD’s cleanup processes.” The 2022 National Defense Authorization Act required DoD to apply the prohibition until the Department issues guidance implementing EPA’s interim guidance on the destruction and disposal of PFAS. The memo states that DoD expects to finalize and issue its guidance in the near future.

EPA Opens 15-day Comment Period for Build America, Buy America Waiver for WIFIA Projects with Design Underway by 5/14/22

May 9, 2022      Drinking Water Headlines     

The public has until May 20, 2022, to provide comments to EPA on a waiver for the requirements under Build America, Buy America (BABA). The Agency is proposing to waive BABA requirements for Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (WIFIA) borrowers that initiated project design plans prior to May 14, 2022 – the day which BABA goes into effect.

From EPA’s waiver: “[I]nitiated project design planning” means efforts made by the utility owner to evaluate and identify both technologically and financially viable options for capital improvement projects. These efforts can be in various forms of technical documents describing design concepts, alternatives analyses, and long-term facility or system plans. Examples include preliminary engineering reports, master plans, basis of design reports, and technical design memorandum.

EPA is concerned that water systems may decide to not use WIFIA funds and instead opt for more expensive sources of financing if a waiver is not granted. Additionally, the Agency argues that requiring borrowers that have already begun project design to comply with BABA “may lead to significant cost and schedule increases for much needed infrastructure” and that this conflicts with the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law’s goal of “investing in the nation’s water infrastructure and initiating construction in an expeditious and efficient manner.” EPA is clear that this waiver does not change the requirements for American Iron and Steel which were already in place. Comments should be sent to and include “Program Waiver Comment” in the subject line to ensure comments can be filed and reviewed.

EPA Announces First Virtual Meeting of NDWAC MDBP Working Group

May 6, 2022      Drinking Water Headlines     

EPA has recently announced the first meeting for its National Drinking Water Advisory Council (NDWAC) Microbial Disinfection Byproducts (MDBP) Working Group. The MDBP rules were identified as candidates for revision as part of the latest Six-Year Review of all drinking water regulations. As part of the potential regulatory revisions effort, EPA has requested that the NDWAC, a Federal Advisory Committee (FAC) established under the Safe Drinking Water Act, provide the agency with advice and recommendations on key issues related to potential revisions to MDBP rules. The work of the NDWAC will be supported by an MDBP Rule Revisions Working Group.

The first meeting of the Working Group is May 23, 2022 from 11:00 am until 4:00 pm (Eastern) and will be hosted virtually. The meeting is intended to make introductions among Working Group members; review previous public engagements and Working Group member interview findings; describe the approach to sequencing meeting topics for the meeting series and supporting discussions with technical information; and share goals for Working Group outcomes/impacts.

Registration for members of the public to listen can be found here. Meeting materials and more information will be posted to the NDWAC MDBP Rule Revisions Working Group webpage


White House Releases Rural Playbook for Bipartisan Infrastructure Law

May 6, 2022      Drinking Water Headlines, DWSRF     

In April, the White House released a new playbook specifically focused on rural communities and how they can access and make the most of the funds available under the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL). The document outlines the programs and sources of funds set aside for rural communities and the key flexibilities and other benefits available to these communities under the BIL. Alongside this playbook, multiple federal agencies released companion fact sheets. The EPA’s document focuses on the drinking water, wastewater, pollution prevention, and pollution clean-up components of the BIL.

USDA NRCS Opportunity for Selecting NWQI Watersheds and Source Water Protection Areas

May 5, 2022      Drinking Water Headlines, Source Water     

The USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service NRCS has just posted their new bulletin for the “National Water Quality Initiative (NWQI) Watershed and Source Water Protection Area (SWPA) Selection and Criteria for Planning and Implementation Phases of NWQI for FY 2023.” State drinking water programs are encouraged to reach out to your NRCS State Conservationist’s Office to discuss implementation and begin planning now for potential changes in the NWQI watersheds and SWPAs that are due by September 30. The NRCS prioritizes funding for landowner agricultural practices in these areas to protect water quality and quantity, including drinking water sources.

This bulletin provides criteria and action items for the NRCS State Technical Committees to work with state drinking water programs, water utilities, and other partners to:

  • Request new watersheds for the FY 2023 planning and implementation phases of NWQI.
  • Request to withdraw current NWQI watersheds.
  • Request new NWQI SWPAs for both ground and surface public water supplies for planning or implementation phase.

For more information about this NWQI opportunity, read the bulletin here. For additional information about:

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