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Welcome to ASDWA’s Newsroom. Below you’ll find all of ASDWA’s published content in a single feed. You can use the filters provided in the sidebar to narrow down content by category [SDWIS Prime, Source Water, etc]. All of this content is also available in our daily and weekly newsletters, the ASDWA Update. Read on to learn more about subscribing to the ASDWA Update

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ASDWA Attends WaterPro 2019

September 20, 2019      Drinking Water Headlines     

Last week the National Rural Water Association hosted the 2019 WaterPro Conference in Nashville, TN. The conference brought together water industry professionals and water systems of all sizes to discuss water quality issues related to management, governance, and operations. WaterPro included sessions that focused on new workforce, emergency response, and emerging contaminants. One of the sessions regarding workforce included conversations on bridging generational gaps in the water industry to better prepare communication between current and incoming professionals. During sessions on emergency response and crisis communication, speakers shared the importance of embracing the age of instant information by working with social media leaders and continuous transparent communication during an incident that influences drinking water. Several sessions discussed PFAS and emerging contaminants and the importance of crafting short and long-term communications plans to be ready for emerging contaminant news.


Upcoming ASDWA Annual Conference Hotel Information

September 20, 2019      Drinking Water Headlines, Events     

ASDWA’s 34th Annual Conference, being held October 28-31, 2019 at the Hilton Tampa Downtown in Tampa, Florida is just 5 weeks away! ASDWA’s 2019 Annual Conference will feature plenary panels on Lead Service Line Inventories and Replacement, Legionella, and PFAS. Focused sessions will be held on Wednesday, October 30th that cover a variety of additional drinking water issues and, a new feature for this year’s Conference, two concurrent 90-minute workshop sessions. We’re also excited to host a variety of exhibits showcasing treatment technologies, technical assistance and contract support providers, and more. See the full conference agenda here.

The hotel room block closes October 4, 2019 so please make your hotel reservations soon. You can book your hotel room online directly through Hilton’s reservation system. In addition to reserving a room for the event, you may visit this page for more information about the hotel, take an online tour of the facilities, or access local maps and directions.

If you do not wish to book your room online, you may contact Hilton via phone at 813-204-3000 or their reservations line at 1-800-HILTONS. ASDWA has reserved a block of rooms for October 26, 2019 – November 1, 2019. The room rate of $185/night will be available until October 4th or until the group block is sold-out, whichever comes first.  Please be sure to reference the ASDWA Meeting when you make your reservation to receive the special room rate. Book by October 4th to reserve your room!


Legislative Update: FY2020 Appropriations & PFAS in NDAA

September 20, 2019      Drinking Water Headlines, Legislative     

Yesterday, lawmakers in the House passed a bipartisan stopgap spending bill to keep the government funded through November 21st, which would avoid a government shutdown when federal agencies roll over to a new fiscal year on October 1st. This measure would give Congress an additional 7 weeks to agree on FY2020 federal funding, though another continuing resolution is still possible. The Senate plans to take up the stopgap measure next week. In the meantime, the Senate continues to work on FY2020 spending bills with the mark-up for Interior-Environment scheduled for next week. The House has passed 10 of its 12 spending bills, including Interior-Environment.

Image result for us capitol building

Yesterday also saw the official start to conference negotiations on the fiscal 2020 defense authorization bill, or the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). The bipartisan group of House and Senate lawmakers hope to have the differences between the House and Senate-passed bills reconciled by October 1st. Both NDAA bills have key provisions to address PFAS that could be a contentious point for resolution. For PFAS language the most significant differences are the House bill mandates Clean Water Act (CWA) discharge limits for PFAS while the Senate bill does not, and the Senate bill requires EPA to promulgate drinking water standards for PFAS while the House bill does not. Most importantly, the House bill includes an amendment requiring EPA to list all PFAS as hazardous substances under CERCLA, something the Senate is staunchly against.


EPA Publishes Two Water Proposals in the Federal Register

September 20, 2019      Drinking Water Headlines     

On Monday, September 16th, EPA published two water proposals in the Federal Register. The first was a Notice of Intent to Develop a Policy on the Determination of a Harmful Algal Bloom (HAB) and Hypoxia as an Event of National Signficance in Freshwater Systems. EPA is asking for comments on a broad range of factors that would impact such a determination. Comments are due to EPA by October 31, 2019.

The second was a Notice of Availability and Request for Comments on EPA’s Draft Water Reuse Action Plan. EPA released the Draft Water Reuse Action Plan at the 34th Annual WateReuse Symposium on Tuesday, September 10th. This Federal Register notice summarizes the Draft Plan and encourages EPA’s collaborators to commit to lead or collaborate with others on implementing any of the proposed actions in the Draft Plan. Comments are due to EPA by December 16, 2019.

ASDWA partnered with the Association of Clean Water Administrators (ACWA) to hold a regulator summit prior the WateReuse Symposium. ASDWA is collaborating with ACWA on developing comments on the Draft Plan.


SDWIS PROJECT UPDATE: September 2019

September 19, 2019      Data Management, SDWIS Prime     

It’s been a while since our last project update, and it’s safe to say a lot happened in that short time. We’ve much to cover, so let’s jump into it…

Quick Announcements

  1. Security Vulnerability Notice for SDWIS/State Users – EPA released a security vulnerability advisory notice for SDWIS/State that provides information on a potential issue associated with user authentication. Read the advisory here.
  2. The September All Things SDWIS webinar has been rescheduled for October 3rd from 3-4PM ET. Reminders and calendar event invitations have been updated with the new information.

The Great Prime Pause

Back in June, ASDWA informed our members that the EPA SDWIS Prime Team identified an issue with the SDWS Prime/CMDP database that would require a system evaluation and fixes that led to an Agency decision to pause development of SDWIS Prime. EPA is currently undergoing their internal assessment, and we expect it will be some time before we hear about potential options for a path forward.

In the meantime, if you would like to learn more about the technical details of what’s known, EPA shared documentation last month on the initial analysis and assessment here. Below, you’ll find additional resources that go into detail about the issue and interim plans.

As part of their efforts to promote transparency throughout this process, EPA initiated a new thread on ASDWA’s SDWIS Forums to centralize discussion on the analysis artifacts shared and to answer any questions from the SDWIS Community. Please contact Anthony DeRosa of ASDWA for access.

Additional resources:

  • DMUC 19: Opening Session – this video capture from the Data Management Users Conference includes remarks from Anita Thompkins, EPA (at minute-mark 14:00) speaking directly to the issues with Prime and the Agency’s response.
  • DMUC 19: SDWIS Prime Project Update – this session focuses specifically on the Prime Project and includes remarks from Michael Plastino, Renee Morris, and Tina Chen of EPA’s Infrastructure Branch along with audience Q&A.
  • All Things SDWIS: August 2019 – the August All Things SDWIS call includes information on Prime, SDWIS/State 3.4 development plans, and additional information about CMDP.

SDWIS 3.4

With SDWIS Prime on hold, EPA is dedicating resources to address critical security vulnerabilities affecting SDWIS/State to ensure this core suite of software continues to serve states’ needs.. The following document details the scope of the upgrades and roll-out timelines:

https://www.asdwa.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/08/SDWIS-State-3.4-Development-Roll-Out-Plans_8_20_2019-1.docx

Again, EPA initiated a discussion thread on ASDWA’s SDWIS Legacy Forums to respond to questions and collect feedback from states on the Plan. Another discussion thread shares additional information on issues and fixes proposed for SDWIS/State by users outside the scope of the planned upgrades.

Additional resources:

  • DMUC 19: SDWIS Legacy Session – this video capture from the Data Management Users Conference opens with Renee Morris of EPA’s Infrastructure Branch walking through the plans for SDWIS/State 3.4.
  • All Things SDWIS: August 2019 – the August All Things SDWIS call includes information on SDWIS/State 3.4 development plans and roll-out strategy.

Compliance Monitoring Data Portal (CMDP)

Again, resources freed up with SDWIS modernization on hold have allowed for greater focus on CDMP development and implementation support. At the time of this writing, EPA has shared with the SDWIS Community a strategy to prioritize CMDP development and communications through January 2020. The strategy focuses on:

  • Addressing Technical Debt
  • Improvements to the User Interface (UI) and User Experience (UX)
  • Improved Samples Validation
  • Sample Retraction
  • Monthly Operating Reports

On the communications front, EPA released a new Service Level Agreement (SLA) for the CMDP Help Center. The SLA, posted to ASDWA’s SDWIS User Community, outlines standard response times for processing tickets and the process for escalating support.

You may review the details of the strategy here.

ASDWA has configured a CMDP Forum for peer-to-peer support. Of note is a post last month from North Carolina seeking to centralize state requests for CMDP functionality and fixes. States with interest can view NC’s list and add to it here.

Additional Resources:

ASDWA/EPA Data Management Users Conference: 2019

We held a very successful DMUC in Atlanta, GA, with 168 onsite participants and an additional 130 attendees participating remotely via webinar. All of the videos and summary materials from the Conference are available in the SDWIS User Community of ASDWA.org. Some take-aways:

  • SDWIS PRIME
    • States appreciated the communications on the project at all levels, even if some want more details. EPA did a fine job of informing the community of what is known and what next steps to expect.
    • Most states seem interested in some level of forensic analysis of the Prime issues. With respect to the resources states have invested in the project over the years, it makes sense to continue moving forward as partners in this effort – which means, sharing essential findings that may inform future actions and decision-making with the understanding that EPA may be unable to share certain information. EPA has conveyed that they will be conducting a lessons learned assessment.
    • We have some application developers with experience building state-apps, including applications built on SDWIS, but none of these individuals are involved in any of our governance, workgroups, or committees. It would be beneficial to assemble these contacts into a “Technical Advisory Committee” of sorts. It might not be a standing committee but perhaps assembled based on need, or a workgroup managed under the Data Management Advisory Committee (DMAC).
    • Several state comments focused on exploring the future of Prime as an open-source project, although the nuance of such a suggestion requires far more consideration.
  • SDWIS Legacy
    Some states expressed confusion over the scope of the work planned for SDWIS/State. A fact sheet that specifically outlines the scope and timelines is now available to the community.
  • CMDP
    States requested a “one-stop-shop” for CMDP. We have some excellent information on the ASDWA website but could expand it considerably to include a development roadmap, changelogs/release notes, FAQs, helpdesk database, training options, and peer-to-peer resources. A future effort should review existing materials/videos to delete outdated information and promote helpful info/vids.
  • EN GRANTS
    Some states have outstanding Exchange Network Grants, specific to Prime, that now seem in limbo. EPA has conveyed that if states have questions regarding their EN Grant, they should consult with the EPA Regional EN Grant Coordinator. Justin Wright is the EPA SDWIS Team POC for any SDWIS Team input that may be helpful in states’ communications with Regional EN Grant Coordinators.
  • TRACKING UNREGULATED COMPOUNDS
    Some states expressed concerns over data management for unregulated contaminants.

Data Management Advisory Committee (DMAC)

As part of their quarterly Best Practices webinar series, the DMAC recently held a training for tracking Lead and Copper Rule (LCR) compliance in SDWIS/State 3.3. The training, led by Dianna Heaberlin of SAIC, can be viewed on the SDWIS Community Video section of ASDWA.org here.

Data Management/SDWIS Communications – Staying in the Loop (reminders)

Lastly, a quick review of the opportunities that exist to stay up to date on data management and SDWIS issues:

  • Email – critical information will continue to be sent directly to community members to ensure all impacted parties receive important communications. Please contact Anthony DeRosa if you are not receiving data-focused emails.
  • Newsfeed – ASDWA maintains a news feed dedicated to data management and SDWIS. You can track the feed via RSS at https://www.asdwa.org/category/data-management/sdwis-prime/feed/ or as part of your subscription to the ASDWA Update.
  • ASDWA website and discussion forums – all community members can request access to the SDWIS User Community and associated discussion forums. If you are not a member, please contact Anthony DeRosa for access.


GWPC Annual Forum and Source Water Protection Workshop Held This Week

September 19, 2019      Drinking Water Headlines     

The Ground Water Protection Council (GWPC) held its Annual Forum this week in Oklahoma City that included a variety of sessions and a source water protection workshop. Approximately 270 participants attended the Forum from state water, ground water, energy, and oil and gas programs, as well as EPA, USGS, and the Department of Energy, and other associations (including ASDWA).

Ken Wagner, Oklahoma’s Secretary of Energy and Environment and Scott Thompson, Executive Director of Oklahoma’s Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) opened the Forum by highlighting some of Oklahoma’s efforts focused on renewable energy; water and energy conservation; produced water and water reuse. Claudio Ternieden of the Water Environment Federation shared their activities to address drinking water, wastewater, and water reuse as well as nutrient resources and recovery. Anita Thompkins of EPA’s Drinking Water Protection Division (DWPD) wrapped up the session by presenting EPA’s efforts to streamline approaches for approving UIC permit applications and reducing backlogs; implement AWIA provisions; promote source water protection and partnerships; and develop the National Water Reuse Action Plan.

The Source Water Protection Workshop was held on the first afternoon of the Forum and was sponsored by the National Source Water Collaborative. Shellie Chard, Director of Oklahoma’s Water Quality Division in DEQ, and who is a Board Member of both GWPC and ASDWA, kicked off the workshop by sharing information about Oklahoma’s source water issues and activities. She was followed by Sal Salinas, the Central Regional Conservationist of the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) and Gary O’Neill, the NRCS State Conservationist who shared information about agricultural conservation programs and partnering with NRCS on projects to implement practices that protect sources of drinking water. Other presentations and lightning talks highlighted a variety of innovative activities being undertaken in multiple states (Arkansas, Nebraska, Nevada, Delaware, Ohio, Wisconsin, West Virginia and New Hampshire) to work with state Clean Water Act, NRCS, agricultural, water utility, and other program and organization partners to develop and implement surface water and ground water protection plans and update state source water assessment programs and GIS mapping applications. Both during and at the end of the workshop, participants discussed and shared ideas and opportunities for take home actions.

Another session at the Forum that should be of interest to state drinking water programs focused on emerging contaminants and PFAS. During this session, Brandon Kernen of New Hampshire shared information about ASDWA and ACWA’s Contaminants of Emerging Concern project to provide recommendations for working with industry and optimizing the use of multiple federal regulatory programs to assess and address PFAS; and Kenneth Sansone, a lawyer from New Hampshire discussed the legal implications for lawsuits against responsible parties for PFAS contamination. For more information on other Forum sessions, such as aquifer management and produced water, visit the GWPC website.


ASDWA Releases Guide on State Management Options for Building Water Systems

September 16, 2019      Drinking Water Headlines     

Today, ASDWA released a document to assist state water programs in regulating building water systems. Increased concern and awareness of Legionella in buildings as well as a 2017 Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services memo on reducing Legionella risk in healthcare facilities are drivers of an increased focus on Legionella in building water plumbing and, in some cases, supplemental disinfection in buildings. The guide provides a review of federal rules and agency guidance on Legionella control, discussion on important defining topics like what constitutes treatment and when a building becomes a public water system, and outlines nuanced flexibilities in regulations drawing from EPA water supply guidances.

Because every state has a unique set of circumstances, including state-specific statutory and/or regulatory requirements or limitations, no single approach to Legionella control can be applied to all. The document shares a sample of case studies from states in varying regulatory, political, and resource realities, with the intention of showcasing a menu of options for states who are looking for guidance they can consider for implementation.

For access to the full document, please visit: https://www.asdwa.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/09/State-Approaches-to-Building-Water-System-Regulation.pdf


EPA and Army Repeal 2015 WOTUS Rule

September 13, 2019      Drinking Water Headlines     

On September 12th, EPA and the U.S. Army repealed the 2015 Waters of the United States (WOTUS) Rule that expanded the reach of the Clean Water Act (CWA). This repeal effectively reinstates the regulatory text that existed prior to the 2015 Rule in an effort to reestablish national consistency across the country for all jurisdictions. This action was part of Trump Administration’s campaign pledge and was the first step in a two-step process to narrow the definition of WOTUS and provide greater regulatory certainty. Step two was previously started in December 2018, when EPA and the U.S. Army proposed a new definition that clarifies the federal and state authorities and helps landowners better understand whether a project on their property will require a CWA permit. For more information, go to: http://www.epa.gov/wotus-rule.


Plenary Panel on State of the States Wraps Up WateReuse Symposium

September 12, 2019      Drinking Water Headlines     

On Wednesday, September 11th, a panel of five state representatives from the Association of State Drinking Water Administrators (ASDWA) and the Association of Clean Water Administrators (ACWA) discussed the state of the states at the conclusion of the 34th Annual WateReuse Symposium. The members of the panel were:

  • Erica Gaddis, Water Quality Division Director, Utah Department of Environmental Quality;
  • Shellie Chard, Water Quality Division Director, Oklahoma Department of Environmental Quality;
  • Anita Anderson, Principal Engineer, Minnesota Department of Health;
  • Rebecca Roose, Water Protection Division Director, New Mexico Environment Department; and
  • George Garden, Chief Engineer, Division of Water Resources, Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation.

The panel reported out from the State Regulatory Summit that was held on Sunday, September 8th, prior to the Symposium. Topics covered included source water, agricultural uses and environmental flows, fit-for-purpose, potable reuse, produced water from oil and gas production, contaminants of emerging concern, public outreach and communication, and training. Discussions at the Summit were wide-ranging and pointed to many data gaps and policy gaps. Between Sunday’s State Regulatory Summit and EPA’s release of its Draft National Water Reuse Action Plan, ASDWA and ACWA are sorting through all of the different potential priorities and actions to determine potential next steps and priorities in the context of all of the ongoing water actions inside-the-Beltway.

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Denver Post Article on Colorado Response to High Levels of PFAS

September 11, 2019      Drinking Water Headlines     

On September 10, the Denver Post published an article entitled, “Colorado ramps up response to toxic “forever chemicals” after discovery of hot spots across metro Denver: State plan to deal with PFAS groundwater contaminated at levels thousands of times higher than recommended max.” The article provides information about the detection of high levels of PFAS throughout the state and the development of Colorado’s PFAS action plan. While the state has not yet conducted comprehensive statewide sampling, tests at individual groundwater sites have found PFAS levels at up to 2,928 times higher than EPA’s health advisory level of 70 parts per trillion (ppt) and it is estimated that more than 100,000 residents have been served drinking water from water systems with elevated levels of PFAS. Tests to date have been limited to military and industrial sites that used Aqueous Film Forming Foam (AFFF) that contained PFAS.

According to the article, Colorado’s emerging PFAS action plan will include efforts to:

  • Increase state lab capacity to test for PFAS.
  • Develop a state groundwater cleanup standard.
  • Begin to develop a state drinking water standard and support testing for and remove PFAS from small water systems.
  • Require reporting on chemicals used in firefighting; ban the use of PFAS during fire training; and control the use of AFFF at airports.

For more information, read the article and visit the Colorado website with information about the development of the state’s PFAS Narrative Policy.


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