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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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Upcoming Webinar: Creating the Water Workforce of the Future

February 14, 2020      Drinking Water Headlines     

Next week, EPA and partners are hosting an upcoming webinar discussing how utilities can tap into the next generation of water workforce. Recruiting and retaining workforce is one of the biggest challenges in the water industry, and participants in this webinar will hear from speakers that will share their experiences developing educational resources and trainings aimed at bringing in new water industry professionals.

DATE:                    Tuesday, Feb 18

TIME:                    1:30-3:00 pm (Eastern)

REGISTER:           Click here

Click here to view the flyer.


ECOS Publishes PFAS White Paper on Setting State Standards

February 13, 2020      Drinking Water Headlines     

The Environmental Council of States (ECOS) has published its White Paper entitled, “Processes and Considerations for Setting State PFAS Standards.” ECOS developed the paper with representatives of state environmental agencies and drinking water programs and other associations (including ASDWA). Its purpose it to help federal, state, and international authorities avoid unnecessary duplication of efforts, as well as understand and communicate about differences in state PFAS standards and guidelines. The paper examines information and data from 23 states on their processes and rulemaking requirements, and also includes specific toxicity criteria for each state’s guidelines in an appendices. To view the White Paper, visit the ECOS website.


White House Releases Fiscal 2021 Budget Request

February 13, 2020      Drinking Water Headlines     

 

On Monday (2/10), President Trump released the fiscal 2021 White House budget request. The budget continues to ask for decreased funding for EPA, cutting expenditures and continuing the downward funding trend from past budget requests. The President’s 2021 Budget requests $6.7 billion for EPA, a $2.4 billion or 26% decrease from the 2020 enacted funding.  

Below are some of the funding requests for drinking water programs:

  • Public Water Supply Supervision (PWSS) Grants –  $67.9 million from fiscal 2020’s $106.25 million enacted level, a decrease of about 36%;
  • Underground Injection Control (UIC) –  $6.99 million from fiscal 2020’s $10.2 million enacted level, a decrease of about 31%; 
  • Drinking Water SRF  $863 million from fiscal 2020’s $1.13 billion enacted level, a decrease of about 24%; 
  • Clean Water SRF  $1.12 billion from fiscal 2020’s $1.64 billion enacted level, a decrease of about 32%; 
  • WIFIA  $25 million from fiscal 2020’s $ 60 million enacted level, a decrease of about 58%; 
  • PFAS – provides an additional $6 million for research and development; 
  • HABs – establishes new $15 million grant program.

The presidential budget request summarizes the Administration’s priorities for the upcoming fiscal year. As usual, Congress controls the purse strings and can approve, modify, or reject the request. As with proposed EPA budgets in FY19 and FY20, this budget will likely see major alterations before being passed into law.  

Visit EPA’s FY 2021 EPA Budget in Brief for more information.  


International Symposium on Potable Reuse

February 13, 2020      Drinking Water Headlines     

This week, the American Water Works Association hosted the 2020 International Symposium on Potable Reuse which covered the latest innovations in treatment and monitoring technology from around the world in potable water reuse. Microbial risks, pathogen control, and emerging contaminants were all hot topics. There were also presentations on 8350reuseWebBanner750x255the future of reuse research and non-membrane treatment trains, particularly for inland reuse projects. Florida and Colorado both had representatives at the Symposium to present on Florida’s Framework for the Implementation of Potable Reuse in Florida and the National Water Reuse Institute’s Guidelines for Direct Potable Reuse in Colorado, respectively.

In other water reuse news, EPA will be public releasing the Water Reuse Action Plan (WRAP) on February 27th in Washington, DC. The public release will likely be live streamed and will feature speakers highlighting their implementation actions. The WRAP online platform will also be unveiled on the 27th.


ASDWA Testifies at House Hearing on EPA’s Proposed Lead and Copper Rule Revisions (LCRR)

February 12, 2020      Drinking Water Headlines     

Yesterday (2/11), Cathy Tucker-Vogel testified for ASDWA at a hearing on EPA’s Proposed Lead and Copper Rule Revisions (LCRR) by the House Subcommittee on Environment & Climate Change of the House Committee on Energy & Commerce. Her written testimony can be found here.

This hearing was a full house – 18 representatives were present at the start of the hearing. While some representatives had to step out and come back in due to other hearings at the same time, many asked relevant questions during their five minutes for questions. Seven witnesses testified at this hearing with five minutes (each) of verbal testimony – three environmental advocates, two representatives of drinking water associations (AMWA and AWWA), one from local government (National Association of Counties), and ASDWA. EPA did not testify due being notified of hearing date less than weeks before 2/11, according to yesterday’s press release from EPA about the hearing. Media stories on the hearing focused mainly on criticism of the proposal by the environmental advocates.

Today (2/12) is the close of the public comment period for EPA’s proposed LCRR. As of 1:55 PM EST on 2/12, 55,041 comments on the proposal had been received in the docket for the proposal.


NACD Annual Meeting this Week Highlighted Conservation for Water Quality and Quantity

February 12, 2020      Drinking Water Headlines, Source Water     

This week, the National Association of State Conservation Districts (NACD) held its Annual Meeting with participants representing state and local Conservation Districts, the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), and others from around the country, as well as staff from ASDWA, GWPC, EPA, and AWWA (whose organizations are all members of the Source Water Collaborative (SWC), as well as NACD and NRCS). During the meeting, many sessions, discussion panels, and committee meetings highlighted the importance of collaboration with partners to implement agricultural and forestry conservation, innovation, and management practices that benefit water (including drinking water) quality and quantity, soil health, public health, air and carbon sequestration, and local economies.

ASDWA and the other SWC member representatives were invited to participate in the Forestry Resource Policy Group and the NRCS National Leadership Team meetings to share information about coordinating with each other to protect drinking water sources. This included discussions about how state source water protection programs can work with leading partners and Conservation Districts to prioritize source water protection areas for implementation of conservation and management practices with the:

  • State Forestry office and programs as part of the State Forest Action Plans;
  • US Forest Service and NRCS on national and private forested lands; and
  • NRCS on private agriculture and ranch lands to meet the 2018 Farm Bill requirement for spending 20 percent of conservation funds on protecting drinking water sources.

For more information about:

For more information about ASDWA’s source water protection coordination efforts with these organizations, contact Deirdre White at dwhite@asdwa.org.


ASDWA Submits Comments on Proposed Lead and Copper Rule Revisions (LCRR)

February 10, 2020      Drinking Water Headlines     

On Monday (2/10), ASDWA submitted its comments (below) on EPA’s proposed Lead and Copper Rule Revisions (LCRR). ASDWA’s comments have four main themes:

  1. Get the Lead Out
  2. Continue to Reduce Exposure from Lead in Drinking Water
  3. Work to Increase Transparency and Public Education and Clarify Public Notification
  4. Minimize the Implementation Burden and Increase Funding for States

Getting the lead out of distribution systems across the country starts with regulatory requirements for lead service line (LSL) inventories or demonstrating “absence of LSLs.” Inventories are then followed by requirements for LSL replacement (LSLR) plans and requirements for LSL removals for all systems with LSLs. ASDWA recommended strengthening the LSLR regulatory requirements to replace a minimum of 10% over a 3 year period for any systems with LSLs and replace a minimum of 20% over 3 years for systems with a 90th percentile greater than the lead action level (AL) of 15 µg/L.

ASDWA recommended Tier 1 sampling sites at locations with LSLs, appropriate corrosion control treatment (CCT), and water quality parameter monitoring to ensure appropriate water quality is maintained, particularly when water sources or treatment processes are changed. ASDWA recommended that additional CCT testing options be included in the final LCRR. ASDWA recommended that sample site assessments (proposed as “Find-and-Fix”) be included in the final LCRR to ensure that CCT is consistent throughout the distribution system. ASDWA recommended that utilities have an “upon request,” rather than a mandatory lead testing program for schools and child care facilities.

The proposed LCRR significantly increases the complexity of the rule and the burden on staff to implement the rule. The proposed LCRR will also substantially increase the states’ data management burden. The proposed LCRR contains several early implementation activities and within each component of the proposal, new program requirements with significant tracking, reviews, and approvals. ASDWA estimated that the national total for states to implement the LCRR in its first five years is approximately 835,000 additional staff hours annually, over and above the ongoing implementation of the current LCR. The additional staff hours are a factor of 12 greater than the annual hours for ongoing LCR implementation. In its comments, ASDWA provided several recommendations that would reduce the additional burden by approximately 12%. ASDWA estimated that the proposed LCRR would take 47% of current Public Water Supply Supervision (PWSS) funding to fully implement, and that’s just for one rule. States will have to make tough decisions about how to prioritize support to existing programs to implement the requirements of the final LCRR.

These four themes will be emphasized at the hearing on EPA’s proposed LCRR by the House Subcommittee on Environment and Climate Change on Tuesday, Feburary 11th at 10:30 am EST. Cathy Tucker-Vogel, ASDWA President-Elect, will be testifying on behalf of ASDWA at that hearing.

ASDWA Cover Letter_Comments_CoSTS on Proposed LCRR – Final

 


EPA Publishes Exchange Network Grant Solicitation Notice – With New Applicant Guidance Tools

February 10, 2020      Data Management, SDWIS Prime     

The FY 2020 National Environmental Information Exchange Network Grant Program Solicitation Notice is now available at https://www.epa.gov/exchangenetwork/fy-2020-exchange-network-grant-solicitation-notice.  Applications are due to EPA by 11:59 PM Eastern Time, Wednesday, March 25, 2020. Information on stakeholder webinars will be provided shortly.

The primary outcome expected from Exchange Network (EN) assistance agreements is improved access to, and exchange of, high-quality environmental data from public and private sector sources. With this outcome in mind, an application’s project goals and outputs should align with and support one or more EN program priorities. Applicants are also highly encouraged to review the new FY20 Solicitation Notice in full, as updates have been made throughout the document. Applicants should also note that optional templates for the cover letter, project narrative, and budget narrative have been provided in the appendices.

In FY 2020, EPA expects to award over $8 million for 20-30 assistance agreements for EN projects. Most awards will be in the $50,000 to $300,000 range. Awards for an individual assistance agreements cannot exceed $200,000. EPA may make a limited number of awards to qualifying collaborative, partnership assistance agreements, with project budgets of $400,000 or less. The exact number of assistance agreements will depend on the final amount of EPA’s appropriation for the EN grant program, the number of applications submitted to EPA by the application deadline, the budget amounts requested, and the outcome of application reviews.

EPA only accepts project proposals for EN assistance agreements submitted electronically through Grants.gov, unless applicants have a waiver. EPA anticipates that it will announce selection decisions in or around August 2020, and tentatively plans to issue awards by September 30, 2020.

For more information, please contact Erika Beasley, EN Grants Program Manager at beasley.erika@epa.gov.


EPA Announces First WIFIA Annual Report

February 7, 2020      Drinking Water Headlines     

Yesterday, EPA released its first Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (WIFIA) program annual report. The WIFIA program has financed more than $3.5 billion in loans, which has saved borrowers $1.2 billion dollars and improved water quality for more than 20 million Americans.

In FY 2019 EPA selected 38 new projects to apply for WIFIA loans. These projects totaled approximately $6 billion to help finance over $12 billion in water infrastructure investments that benefited 18 states and 24 million people. To date the WIFIA program, established in 2014, has helped finance more than $8 billion for water infrastructure improvements, with 57% directly supporting Clean Water Act and Safe Drinking Water Act compliance.

 


EPA Releases 2019 Year in Review

February 7, 2020      Drinking Water Headlines     

Yesterday, EPA released its 2019 Year in Review, outlining last year’s accomplishments. Acting EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler emphasized some of 2019’s achievements, such as the deletion of 27 Superfund sites from the National Priorities List and the proposed first update to the Lead and Copper Rule in nearly three decades.

Some of the FY 2019 EPA accomplishments include:

  • Inviting 38 new projects in 18 states to apply for WIFIA loans totaling $6 billion to help finance over $12 billion dollars in water infrastructure investments and create up to 200,000 jobs.
  • Advancing EPA’s PFAS Action Plan – the first multi-media, multi-program, national research, management, and risk communication plan to address an emerging contamination of concern like PFAS. In 2019, EPA sent the proposed regulatory determination under the Safe Drinking Water Act for PFOA and PFOS in drinking water to the Office of Management and Budget for interagency review, validated a new test method to identify additional PFAS compounds in drinking water, issued Interim Recommendations for Addressing Groundwater Contaminated with PFOA and PFOS under federal cleanup programs, and announced the availability of nearly $5 million for new research on PFAS in agriculture.
  • Providing $1.2 million to 12 states members of the Hypoxia Task Force to reduce excess nutrients.
  • Awarding 36 environmental education regional grants in 25 states totaling more than $3 million.

The report also highlights the draft Water Reuse Action Plan, which is planned to be finalized in February 2020, and the Water Workforce Initiative aimed at bolstering interest in water sector careers. Similar to last year’s Review, this year also includes highlights from each of the 10 EPA regions.


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