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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 3 of 410

EPA Releases Holistic Strategy to Reduce Lead Exposures


On Thursday, October 28, EPA released its Strategy to Reduce Lead Exposures and Disparities in U.S. Communities (Lead Strategy-see below), in conjunction with National Lead Poisoning Prevention Week. This first-ever, agency-wide Lead Strategy outlines how EPA will utilize its full suite of authorities, expertise, and resources to reduce lead exposure in communities overburdened by pollution and advance the Administration’s commitment to environmental justice and equity. The efforts outlined in the strategy to protect the public from lead pollution are supported by the BIL investments.

Through this strategy, EPA is initiating a handful of new actions and ensuring established programs across the agency are leveraged together to ensure the strongest protections from lead exposure, including:

  • Lead Service Line Replacement Accelerators in four states, which will provide targeted technical assistance and develop best practices to help address the barriers disadvantaged communities face in replacing lead service lines.
  • New federal agency collaboration with the Food and Drug Administration and the Consumer Product Safety Commission to address lead in food, cosmetics, and other consumer goods.
  • The development of new educational and engagement materials on children’s health and maternal health regarding lead and heavy metals in cultural products and cookware.

EPA Lead Strategy_Oct 2022

October 28, 2022


CISA Releases Cross-Sector Cybersecurity Performance Goals


Today, the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) released a series of Cybersecurity Performance Goals (CPGs) aimed at helping critical infrastructure sector partners prioritize cybersecurity best practices. The CPGs, developed at the direction of the White House, in coordination with the National Institute for Standards and Technology (NIST) and other agencies, provide voluntary guidance emphasizing those areas that will have the greatest impact on improving cyber resilience. CISA describes the goals document as a “quick-start guide” to help organizations adopt the NIST Cybersecurity Framework (CSF) and begin working towards a more comprehensive cybersecurity program. The CPGs apply to both information technology and operational technology.

Along with the CPGs, CISA is releasing an accompanying CPG Checklist that prioritizes each Goal by Cost, Impact, and Complexity.

CISA set up a Discussions page to receive feedback and ideas for new CPGs from partners from the critical infrastructure community. They plan to update the CPGs regularly and will work directly with individual critical infrastructure sectors as they build out sector-specific CPGs in the coming months.

To learn more about these new CPGs, visit Cross-Sector Cybersecurity Performance Goals and Objectives | CISA

October 27, 2022


EPA Releases Guidance on Community Grants Programs


On Friday, October 21, EPA published the Final Implementation Guidance for the Agency’s Community Grants Programs (see below). In the FY2022 Consolidated Appropriations Act (P.L. 117-103), Congress renewed the practice of funding specifically named infrastructure projects, formerly known as earmarks. This legislation appropriated over $843 million for 483 drinking water, wastewater, stormwater infrastructure, and water quality protection projects. EPA’s Guidance provides details on the pre-award phase, the application process, the award process, the post-award process, and the closeout process. The Guidance also provides the details on the local cost-share requirement and how that requirement can be met.

Community Grants Program Guidance

 


EPA Finalizes Additional General Applicability Waiver for BABA Requirements


On Friday October 21, EPA finalized an additional waiver from the requirements under the Build America, Buy America Act (BABA). The waiver, titled the “De Minimis General Applicability Waiver,” applies to projects where qualifying products represent a small percent of the total cost of the materials used. ASDWA submitted comments when the waiver was first proposed, generally supporting EPA’s decision. However, ASDWA recommended that the percentage threshold be based on project costs, not materials costs as this is a better-known value and more easily derived. In the finalized waiver, EPA agreed that “[u]sing project cost and not material cost will simplify the calculation and would alleviate burden and confusion for assistance recipients.” In response, EPA changed the calculation from material cost to project cost. Additionally, ASDWA recommended that EPA consider increasing the De Minimis calculation amount included in the waiver to 10% or 15% rather than the proposed 5%. In the finalized waiver, EPA maintained the 5% threshold.


GAO Report Recommends that EPA Use New Data to Analyze Demographics of Communities with PFAS in Drinking Water


GAO has published a report entitled, “Persistent Chemicals: EPA Should Use New Data to Analyze the Demographics of Communities with PFAS in Their Drinking Water.” To develop the report, GAO analyzed available state PFAS occurrence data from six selected states (Illinois, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, Ohio, and Vermont) and held discussion groups and interviews with officials from 49 states. The report examines:

  1. What recent data from the six states show about the occurrence of PFAS in drinking water;
  2. The demographic characteristics of communities in those states with and without PFAS in their drinking water; and
  3. Factors that influenced states’ decisions to test and develop standards or guidance for PFAS in drinking water, as well as barriers the states encountered.

GAO found that the limited amount of available data inhibited the ability to determine whether disadvantaged communities across the nation are more likely to have PFAS in their drinking water. Therefore, GAO recommended that EPA conduct a nationwide analysis using comprehensive data to determine the demographic characteristics of communities with PFAS in their drinking water. EPA agreed with the recommendation and will use the PFAS sampling data collected during the Fifth Unregulated Contaminant Monitoring Rule (UCMR5) beginning in January 2023 to conduct this type of analysis.

For more information and to download the report, visit the GAO website.

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October 25, 2022


EPA Releases 20 Climate Adaptation Plans from National Offices


Last week, EPA released 20 Climate Adaptation Implementation Plans that were developed by its major offices, including national program offices and all 10 regional offices. These Plans highlight EPA’s commitments in its 2021 Climate Adaptation Action Plan to address climate change nationally. The Implementation Plans provide details on the specific actions each office will take to protect human health and the environment and to increase resilience to climate change. Click here to view the Plans.

October 14, 2022


AAAS to Hold Public Webinar on Listing PFAS Under CERCLA


On Tuesday, October 25, 2022, from 2:00 – 3:00 PM ET, the American Association for the Advancement of Science’s Center for Scientific Evidence in Public Issues (AAAS EPI Center) will hold a public webinar on “Listing PFAS under Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA).” During the webinar, a panel of experts will discuss EPA’s recently proposed rulemaking. The panelists will discuss CERCLA, the significance of listing PFOA and PFOS as hazardous substances, and the process the EPA has outlined for finalizing the rule. Registration is available online. 

Panelists:

  • Walter Mugdan, Deputy Regional Administrator, U.S. EPA Region 2
  • Jim Woolford, Retired, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
  • Linda Birnbaum, Scientist Emeritus and Former Director National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences and National Toxicology Program and Scholar in Residence, Nicholas School of the Environment, Duke University

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October 13, 2022


WHO Releases Draft Guidelines for PFOA and PFOS, Values Significantly Higher than EPA Health Advisories


On September 29, the World Health Organization (WHO) released a background document for developing WHO Guidelines for Drinking Water Quality for PFOA and PFOS. The WHO examined information from existing reviews from the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, the European Food Safety Authority, Health Canada, and the Environmental Protection Agency (U.S. EPA), among others, as the organization considered establishing health-based guidance values (HBGV) for the two PFAS.

After reviewing the data, WHO determined that a guidance value was warranted but that “the uncertainties in identifying the key endpoint applicable to human health following exposure to PFOS and/or PFOA are too significant to derive a HBGV with confidence.” Additionally, WHO highlights the “uncertainty and lack of consensus in the critical health end point to derive a HBGV.” Therefore, WHO opted instead to propose the derivation of provisional guideline values (pGVs) for both PFOA and PFOS. WHO proposed a pGV of 0.1 µg/L, or 100 parts per trillion (ppt), for both PFOS and PFOA individually. Additionally, WHO proposed a pGV of 0.5 µg/L, or 500 ppt, for all PFAS that currently available methods can measure, 30 different PFAS according to WHO. These numbers are significantly higher than those released by the U.S. EPA in June of this year, which set interim health advisories for PFOA and PFOS at 0.004 ppt and 0.02 ppt, respectively.

The World Health Organization is taking public comment on the background document until November 11.

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EPA Releases Update to EJScreen Tool, Announces Multiple Public Trainings


On October 11, EPA announced an update to EJScreen, the Agency’s publicly available environmental justice screening, and mapping tool. This latest version, EJScreen 2.1, now includes environmental, demographic, and index data for the US Virgin Islands, Guam, American Samoa, and the Northern Mariana Islands. EPA has also added new supplemental indexes that use the same methodology and calculation as the twelve existing EJ Indexes but incorporate a new five-factor supplemental demographic index. The five socioeconomic indicators considered are percent low-income, percent limited English-speaking, percent less than high school education, percent unemployed, and low life expectancy. Additionally, EPA has added threshold maps, at both the state and national levels, which allow users to look across all twelve indexes at once. Threshold maps are available for both the EJ indexes and the supplemental indexes. Finally, EJScreen 2.1 incorporates the newest available 2016 – 2020 American Community Survey (ACS) data from the U.S. Census. Some of the environmental datasets have also been refreshed.

EPA is holding multiple trainings and office hours for the public to learn about EJScreen 2.1. The Agency intends to provide an overview presentation on EJScreen, a discussion of the new features, a demonstration, and a Q&A session. The office hours will be a chance for the public to talk with EPA EJSCREEN experts about many topics including how to use and apply the tool, technical issues, and any other questions. These webinars are free and open to the public. More information can be found at: https://www.epa.gov/ejscreen/ejscreen-office-hours-training. The next two opportunities are listed below:

Training Meeting: October 19th, 2022 at 12:00 pm EST Meeting Link

Office Hours Meeting: November 2nd, 2022 at 12:00 pm EST Meeting Link

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October 12, 2022


EPA to Hold Public Webinar November 2 to Prepare Communities to Engage in Upcoming PFAS Regulatory Process


On November 2, EPA will be hosting a virtual public webinar from 2:30 to 4:00 pm ET to prepare and assist communities in engaging in EPA’s regulatory process for the upcoming proposed PFAS drinking water regulation. The Agency intends to provide communities with background information about PFAS in drinking water, the Safe Drinking Water Act rulemaking requirements, and the input EPA has previously solicited from community representatives and members. Participants will also be able to ask questions about the information presented. The Agency stressed that the webinar will not discuss the proposed rule’s specific requirements. The webinar is free but registration is required to attend and is available online. The presentation will be recorded, and EPA will post the recording and presentation materials online.

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October 11, 2022


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