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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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Page 2 of 406

First Round of BIL Funding Awarded to 18 States


On Friday, 9/16, EPA awarded Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL) funding to the first 18 states across the country for water infrastructure improvements. The BIL allocates more than $50 billion over five years toward repairing the nation’s water infrastructure. More than $1.1 billion in BIL capitalization grants have been issued to 18 states through the State Revolving Funds (SRFs), with additional capitalization grants forthcoming. The grants mark the first significant distribution of BIL water infrastructure funds. State allocations were previously announced.

EPA awarded SRF capitalization grants to 18 states, including: Arizona, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Montana, New Hampshire, New Mexico, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington and West Virginia. The Federal funding announced on 9/16 represents 2022 Fiscal Year (FY22) awards for states that have submitted and obtained EPA’s approval of their plans for use of the funding. Capitalization grants will continue to be awarded, on a rolling, state-by-state basis, as more states receive approval throughout FY22. States will also receive additional awards over the next four years. Once grants are awarded, state programs will begin to deliver the funds as grants and loans to communities across their state. More information on EPA’s infrastructure funding efforts can be found here.

September 16, 2022


Railway Strike Averted


This week, EPA posted information detailing collective bargaining negotiations between U.S. rail carriers and union-represented workers and potential impacts to the chemical supply chain. After the recent issuance of a report in August that included recommendations for ending the stalemate in negotiations, the rail carriers and unions reached a tentative agreement on September 15, potentially avoiding a stoppage of rail carrier service at the end of a negotiation cooling off period on September 16. This agreement may result in the lifting of embargoes on the transport of hazardous materials, allowing for production and transport of chlorine products to begin to return to normal levels.

On September 12, rail carriers began to issue embargoes on the transport of hazardous materials, which include chlorine products needed for water and wastewater treatment. The purpose of the embargoes is to avoid the potential for safety-sensitive and hazardous materials being left unsecured and unprotected in the event of a work stoppage.

 

September 14, 2022


Source Water Protection Week is September 25 – October 1!


AWWA invites water utilities, sections, states, and other partners to join the Association in recognizing Source Water Protection Week from September 25 – October 1, 2022. Throughout the week, advocates will be raising awareness about the importance of caring for the nation’s drinking water sources. Keeping our rivers, lakes and underground wells free from pollution makes it easier and less expensive to keep drinking water safe and healthy. Source Water Protection Week materials are now available, and many additional resources will be added soon. For more information about how to spread the word and celebrate, visit the AWWA website.

September 13, 2022


AAAS Webinar on Advances in PFAS Destruction


On Tuesday, October 4, 2022, from 2:00pm – 4:00pm (eastern time), the American Association for the Advancement of Science’s Center for Scientific Evidence in Public Issues (AAAS EPI Center) will hold a webinar on “Advances in PFAS Destruction.” During the webinar, expert panelists will share the scientific evidence related to current and emerging technologies on PFAS destruction to support decision-makers in their state or community. There will be a question-and-answer session following expert presentations from the webinar panelists. The panelists and presentations are:

  • Max Krause, U.S. EPA – PFAS destruction methods including super critical water oxidation and electrochemical oxidation
  • Paul Lemieux, U.S. EPA – PFAS destruction of solid matter including incineration, pyrolytic processes, and other thermal treatments
  • Michelle Crimi, Clarkson University– Emerging approaches to PFAS destruction including through plasma treatment

For more information and to register for the webinar, visit the website here.

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California Approves World’s First Testing Requirement for Microplastics in Drinking Water


On September 7, California’s State Water Resources Control Board unanimously approved a proposed policy handbook establishing a standard method for testing and reporting drinking water supplies for microplastics. The development of this new testing method was required by a California state law passed in 2018. Under this law, California must use this method to test drinking water for four years. The policy handbook outlines a two-phase iterative approach for monitoring, with each phase lasting two years along with an interim period between the two to “allow for State Water Board staff to assess results from the first phase and plan the second phase of monitoring accordingly.” The plan states that, for both phases, public water systems and/or wholesaler providers will be ordered to monitor for microplastics in both source waters and/or treated drinking water.

September 9, 2022


Biden Administration Launches New Climate Portal


Yesterday, the Biden Administration launched a website that provides a live dashboard to help communities see extreme weather and other hazards from climate change, while also providing maps projecting how each community could be impacted in the future. The new Climate Mapping for Resilience and Adaptation portal will help state, local, Tribal, and territorial governments and leaders better track real-time impacts and access federal resources for long-term planning.

In addition to providing more detailed, location-specific data about climate threats, the new portal also brings together multiple federal information sources and funding opportunities to help communities better prepare for and respond to climate impacts—including resilience funding from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. The portal’s Assessment Tool utilizes information from federal initiatives including: Climate and Economic Justice Screening Tool, Building Code Adoption Tracking Portal, and Updated Sea Level Rise data.

Click here for more information.


FY23 Appropriations Update


The U.S. House of Representatives approved fiscal year 2023 appropriations under HR 8294 on July 20, 2022. The bill combines the text of six fiscal year 2023 spending bills for Transportation-HUD, Agriculture, Energy-Water, Financial Services, Interior-Environment, and Military Construction-VA. The Senate Appropriations Committee released their bills on July 28, 2022; however the bills have not yet been voted on by the senate. A summary of the senate Interior-Environment appropriations bill, as well as the full text are available.  As the government fiscal year comes to an end on September 30th, Congress will likely take up a stopgap funding measure to avoid a partial government shutdown, as requested by President Biden’s office last week. President Biden’s office will be providing technical assistance to congress on a short-term continuing resolution, expected to provide stopgap funding through mid-December.

September 8, 2022


EPA Finalizes Two New Waivers for Build America, Buy America Requirements


Last Friday (9/2), EPA announced the approval of two programmatic waivers from the requirements under the Build America, Buy America Act (BABA). The first, an Adjustment Period Waiver for the Clean Water and Drinking Water State Revolving Funds (SRF), exempts SRF projects that submitted engineering plans and specifications to a state agency before May 14, 2022 – the day BABA went into effect. The second waiver is a temporary public interest waiver for selected water infrastructure and water resources protection programs under EPA’s Office of Water. Both can found on EPA’s ‘Approved BABA Waivers’ page. ASDWA provided support for both waivers when they were initially proposed,

September 7, 2022


EPA Submits Cybersecurity Support Plan for Public Water Systems to Congress


Last week, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) submitted a “Technical Cybersecurity Support Plan for Public Water Systems” to Congress as required under the 2021 Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA), commonly referred to as the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, or BIL. Congress directed EPA, in coordination with Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA), to develop the report detailing their approach for providing voluntary support to public water systems (PWSs). The report follows the release of a separate document required under the BIL, the Prioritization Framework,  that describes a methodology for prioritizing PWSs for technical cybersecurity support that “if degraded or rendered inoperable due to an incident, would lead to significant impacts on health and safety of the public.”

Pursuant to the BIL, the Support Plan outlines: “(i)…the methodology [as established by the Prioritization Framework] for identifying specific PWSs for which cybersecurity support should be prioritized, (ii)…timelines for making voluntary technical support for cybersecurity available to specific PWSs, (iii)…PWSs identified by [EPA], in coordination with [CISA], as needing technical support for cybersecurity, and (iv)…specific capabilities of [EPA] and [CISA] that may be utilized to provide support to PWSs…including (I) site vulnerability and risk assessments, (II) penetrations tests; and (III) any additional support determined to be appropriate by [EPA].”

Here’s a brief summary of the major components of the Plan:

  1. The Prioritization Framework – the Framework is not a fixed prioritization, but rather a series of qualitative questions a PWSs would be required to answer for evaluating where EPA or CISA would target support resources in the event the “demand for cybersecurity support exceeds [EPA or CISA’s] near term capacity to respond.”
  2. Timelines for Making Support Available – the Support Plan states that “the wait time to schedule facilitated assessments is minimal. For example, PWSs that register for EPA’s Water Sector Cybersecurity Technical Assistance Provider Program are contacted within a few days for a preliminary assessment, and…vulnerability scanning and web application scanning offered by CISA typically begin within one week of a facility returning the appropriate forms.” It is unclear if these timelines would hold given an increase in support requests as more systems seek assessments or follow-up assistance to mitigate vulnerabilities identified.
  3. PWSs Identified as Requiring Technical Support  – small (less than 3,300) and non-community water systems who have not completed risk and resilience assessments, such as those required for all community water systems serving over 3,300 under the America’s Water Infrastructure Act of 2018 (AWIA), were identified as systems who “may have an elevated need…[for]..additional resources.” The Plan also identified a second category of PWSs who may need additional support; those who may discover vulnerabilities resulting from a cybersecurity assessment.
  4. Capabilities of EPA and CISA to Provide Support – the last section lists the currently availability resources from EPA and CISA, as well as planned support resources scheduled for release in 2023. The Plan notes that other tools and resources exist beyond those detailed, including those from water sector organizations, such as AWWA and the WaterISAC, as well as the private sector. The resource list is organized into four categories: Assessments and Vulnerabilities, ICS, Vendor/Third-Party Management, and Training Courses and Exercises. On future offerings, the Plan outlines the Agency’s intention to develop a Checklist of Cybersecurity Best Practices that will accompany an online training course targeted at those small community and all non-community water systems who had not completed risk assessments under AWIA. EPA is also planning to stand up a service where subject matter experts are available to offer technical advice to PWSs on approaches to mitigating vulnerabilities in current cybersecurity practices, such as those identified through an assessment program.

ASDWA will continue to track developments as the Agency implements the Support Plan and will share information on new support resources as they become available.

September 1, 2022


National Preparedness Month Brings New EPA Power Resilience Webinars and Wildfire Map


EPA’s new Water Infrastructure and Cyber Resilience Division (formerly the Water Security Division) is gearing up for National Preparedness Month in September by holding a new Power Resilience Webinar Series and announcing the release of a new Wildfire Story Map.

  • National Preparedness Month is recognized each September to promote the importance of preparing for disasters and emergencies that could happen at any time. To join in the celebration, look out for resources EPA will be sharing to help water utilities prepare for disasters. For more information, visit gov/waterresilience.
  • EPA’s Power Resilience Webinar Series will include three webinars to help drinking water and wastewater utilities increase their resilience to power outages and prepare for a variety of threats. Register for the webinars here.
    • September 7, 2022 (1:00 – 2:00 PM ET): Preparing Your Water Utility for Hurricane Season and Power Outages
    • October 6, 2022 (1:00 – 2:00 PM ET): Powering Water Utilities with Renewable Energy
    • November 2, 2022 (1:00 – 2:00 PM ET): Space Weather: What Your Water Utility Should Know
  • EPA Wildfire Story Map: The Creating Resilient Water Utilities (CRWU) initiative has published the Wildfire Conditions and Risk Map for Water Utilities, which helps water sector utilities understand wildfire risk by visualizing current and historical wildfire conditions. The map features real-time wildfire data layered with real-time drought forecasts to highlight the connection to climate change impact. You may also want to explore CRWU’s Streamflow Projections Map for information on how drought affects utility operations. The map also includes historical trends and wildfire hazard potential across the United States, including Alaska and Hawaii.

For more information on CRWU projects, please contact Curt Baranowski (Baranowski.curt@epa.gov), Wesley Wiggins (Wiggins.wesley@epa.gov), and Audrey Ramming (ramming.audrey@epa.gov).

August 31, 2022


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