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Register for the 10th US HABs Symposium

July 12, 2019      Source Water     

The 10th Harmful Algal Bloom Symposium will be held November 3-8 this year in Orange Beach, Alabama. The Symposium will consist of five workshops, three plenaries, four events targeted for early career scientists, three special sessions, a stakeholder meeting, a town hall meeting, and several social events. Some topics to be discussed include: sessions on monitoring, communication and outreach, and molecular advances for HABs.

Early registration and abstract submissions ends August 31, with the workshop registration date being October 15.

Please click here to view the website to register and view the draft agenda.


EPA Announces Policy to Enhance Enforcement & Compliance Assurance Partnerships with States

July 12, 2019      Drinking Water Headlines     

Yesterday, EPA’s Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assistance (OECA) released its policy – “Enhancing Effective Partnerships Between the EPA and the State in Civil Enforcement and Compliance Assurance Work”. Susan Bodine, the OECA Assistant Administrator is quoted in the press release – “The final policy clarifies roles and provides a clear roadmap that EPA and our state partners can use to more effectively achieve our shared goal of increasing compliance with environmental regulations”.

The final policy memorandum is divided into three sections:

  1. Requirements for joint planning and regular communication between EPA and states to promote enhanced, shared accountability.
  2. EPA and state roles and responsibilities in implementing authorized programs.
  3. Process for the elevation and resolution of issues.

The issuance of the final policy replaces the interim guidance memorandum on enhanced planning and communication between EPA regional offices and states issued by Bodine on January 22, 2018. Additionally, as one of its FY 2020-2023 Priorities, OECA has also included drinking water as one of its National Compliance Initatives (NCIs) that were released in mid-June. OECA has started reaching out to a few states to talk more about the drinking water NCI. The draft strategy for the drinking water NCI is planned for late August and ASDWA has been working closely with OECA staff on the development.


New York Governor Directs Health Department to Adopt MCLs for PFAS and 1,4 Dioxane

July 11, 2019      Drinking Water Headlines     

On July 8, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo announced a directive for the State Department of Health to move forward with adopting Maximum Contaminant Levels (MCLs) for PFOA, PFOS and 1,4-Dioxane; and funding for water system infrastructure to help address these compounds. The proposed MCLs are based on the NY Drinking Water Quality Council’s recommendations for: 10 parts per trillion (ppt) for PFOA and PFOS individually, and 1 part per billion (ppb) for 1,4-Dioxane.

The next step is for the state to issue a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking that includes a 60-day public comment period, expected to begin on July 24 and close on September 23, 2019. Once the MCLs are adopted, the state’s agencies will work together to help fund improvements for water systems that test above the new MCLs. This funding includes $350 million for water quality improvement projects and $27 million in grants for nine projects in Long Island. For more information, view Governor Cuomo’s announcement.


CDC Releases Updated Emergency Water Supply Planning Guide for Hospitals and Healthcare Facilities

July 10, 2019      Drinking Water Headlines     

As part of its work on water preparedness and response the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) provides an array of water advisory planning resources and case studies. These resources and case studies are useful for a broad range of stakeholders in the drinking water community. CDC recently updated its Emergency Water Supply Planning Guide for Hospitals and Healthcare Facilities. This update of the 2012 version (ASDWA’s Executive Director was one of the co-authors of the 2012 version in his previous role at AWWA) provides additional web functionality and links to additional resources. Water service to hospitals and healthcare facilities can potentially be interrupted from a variety of events ranging from a large water main break to a variety of weather events and such facilities need to be prepared for full and/or partial interruptions.

Another useful CDC resource is the Drinking Water Advisory Communication Toolbox (DWACT). The DWACT was updated in 2016 and is a useful tool for water systems and state and local agencies on preparing and responding to a range of drinking water advisories.


EPA Releases Report on In-Depth Analysis of Stage 2 DBPR and Consecutive System Compliance Challenges

July 9, 2019      Drinking Water Headlines     

EPA has been conducting an in-depth analysis of SDWA rule implementation, focusing on the Stage 2 Disinfectants and Disinfection By-Products Rule (DBPR). On Wednesday, July 3rd, EPA released the Final Report: Stage 2 DBPR and Consecutive System In-Depth Analysis. The highest number of health-based violations for community water systems (CWSs) was the Stage 2 DBPR, and more than half of the CWSs in violation were consecutive systems. Figuring out how to resolve these violations will be challenging and could be a roadblock for EPA in meeting its strategic breakthrough measure of reducing the number of violations with health-based standards by 25% by 2022.

EPA will host a webinar on August 6th at 1PM EDT to discuss the findings of this report and answer questions. Register for the webinar here.


River Rally Features Drinking Water, Clean Water, and Agriculture Sessions

June 28, 2019      Drinking Water Headlines, Source Water     

On June 21–24, River Network held their annual River Rally event in Cleveland, Ohio. The event took place near the Cuyahoga River that caught on fire for the last time exactly fifty-years ago, and celebrated the success of the river’s restoration. River Rally brings together representatives of local, state and regional groups and agencies to learn from each other and share ideas for ensuring that the nation’s rivers are clean and healthy. The program included over 70 sessions on many topics including drinking water, clean water, and agriculture. The program also included a workshop hosted by the National Source Water Collaborative (SWC) entitled, “Food & Water: Stronger Together.” The SWC workshop featured presentations by representatives of USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), ASDWA, AWWA, and EPA, who offered tips and resources for working together and with agricultural partners to leverage partnership program opportunities for implementing conservation and management practices that ensure safe and reliable food and drinking water sources. For more information about the SWC’s efforts and recent June 25th webinar on this topic, visit the SWC website. For more information about River Rally, visit the River Network website.


House Passes FY 2020 EPA Appropriations But No Clear Path Forward

June 27, 2019      Drinking Water Headlines     

This week the House of Representatives passed its second appropriations package which includes funding for the fiscal year 2020 for the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

The Interior-Environment bill provides $9.53 billion to EPA, funding the agency at $3.3 billion above the President’s budget request. The bill appropriates $4.62 billion for State and Tribal Assistance Grants including $3.08 billion for Clean Water & Drinking Water State Revolving Funds ($826 million more than in fiscal 2019 and $1.1 billion more than requested by the President) and $70 million in targeted grants for drinking water contaminants like lead & other hazards.

The appropriations bill also includes $60 million for clean up of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) at former military bases. Congressman Dan Kildee (D-MI), co-chair of the bipartisan Congressional PFAS Task Force, led this effort that garnered support for a $46 million increase in funding from $14 million last year. For more information, view the press release.

However, the measures will likely require a significant rewrite before they become law as the White House has already threatened to veto the bill in its current form. Additionally, the spending levels outlined in the bill assume Congress will increase the fiscal 2020 spending caps under the Budget Control Act. Without a spending cap agreement, the appropriated levels in the bill would trigger automatic across-the-board reductions, known as sequestration.


Job Posting: Southeastern Partnership for Forests and Water Coordinator

June 25, 2019      Source Water     

The Southeastern Partnership for Forests and Water is seeking a qualified person to lead and coordinate implementation of the Partnership’s activities. The Partnership’s purpose is to facilitate conservation and sound management of the forested watersheds within the southern region through improved understanding and communication between the forest and water utility sectors. View the job description for more information.


U.S. EPA Updated Risk Assessment and Emergency Response Plan Tools Webinar

June 25, 2019      Security     

EPA’s Water Security Division is hosting an upcoming webinar U.S. EPA Updated Risk Assessment and Emergency Response Plan Tools. This webinar will highlight tools to prepare drinking water utilities for the requirements in Section 2013 of AWIA and assist utilities in developing an emergency response plan and conducting a risk assessment. Attendees will receive an overview of the updated Baseline Threat Document, Vulnerability Self-Assessment Tool and Emergency Response Plan Guidance. There will also be time at the end for participants to ask questions concerning the tools and AWIA requirements.

U.S. EPA Updated Risk Assessment and Emergency Response Plan Tools

DATE:                    Thursday, August 22nd, Thursday, September 5th

TIME:                    1:00 – 2:00 pm (Eastern)

REGISTER:           Click here


Upcoming Water Laboratory Alliance Security Summit

June 25, 2019      Drinking Water Headlines, Security     

EPA Region 4 is hosting the upcoming Water Laboratory Alliance Security Summit in Atlanta, Georgia on November 13-14, 2019. This year’s Summit, EPA’s WLA will be celebrating 10 years of enhancing Water Sector preparedness – a result of collaboration with countless stakeholders. This is a free event and attendance by drinking water utilities, state and local laboratories, and emergency response personnel is strongly encouraged.

Attendees will learn about WLA program elements, practice the WLA Response Plan (WLA-RP) for water contamination incident response, and receive hands-on experience with EPA security-related tools and resources.

Early registration ends on July 26, 2019. Register before this date for an opportunity to have priority consideration for poster/exhibit space, as well as to participate in the CDC laboratory tour which will be limited to only 20 participants. If you have any questions about the WLA Security Summit, please email WLA@epa.gov.

Click here to view the full flyer, and click here to register.


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