America’s Water Infrastructure Act Signed Into Law
This week President Trump signed “American’s Water Infrastructure Act of 2018“, which authorizes Army Corps of Engineers water resources projects as well EPA-related provisions, into law. The new water resources development legislation authorizes federal funding for water infrastructure projects, expands the country’s water storage capabilities, provides needed resources to upgrade wastewater, drinking and irrigation systems, as well as authorizes/reauthorizes water infrastructure projects across the nation. The Act also deauthorizes $4 billion in water resources development projects that Congress deems are no longer viable for construction due to a lack of local support, a lack of resources or when they deem that the project is no longer relevant or feasible. The Drinking Water State Revolving Fund (DWSRF) is authorized at $125 million annually and includes stronger requirements for notification of downstream water utilities when a chemical spill occurs; allowing Consumer Confidence Reports to be provided electronically rather than in the mail; increased funding for the Public Water System Supervision grants for state primacy agencies; an update to drinking water utility provisions in the Bioterrorism Act of 2002; and the creation of a competitive grant program to help drinking water systems increase the resilience of their infrastructure to natural hazards. The bill also authorizes EPA’s WaterSense program, voluntary water conservation program, encourages the use of asset management planning; calls for a study of best practices for administering the SRF program with an eye toward streamlining the program; and directs EPA to develop regulations that would allow states to require drinking water system owners or operators to assess options for consolidation or transfer of ownership if the utility is repeatedly out of compliance with SDWA. Clean Water Act provisions include renewed authorization of $225 million annually for the Combined Sewer Overflow grants program in both FY19 and FY20 and the creation of an EPA task force to study and provide recommendations on how to address stormwater funding and financing. Finally, the legislation includes increased funding authorizations for the Water Infrastructure Finance & Innovation Act (WIFIA) program, at $50 million in each fiscal years 2020 and 2021 and changes the status of WIFIA from a pilot to a permanent program.
EPA Webinar on Building Resilience through Partnerships in Vulnerable Communities
The ability of a community to respond, recover, and bounce back from increased risk to local waters from extreme weather and natural disasters is not equally distributed. Environmental justice recognizes that some communities experience higher exposure to local water pollution and degraded local waterways on top of other social factors that increase vulnerability.
Join EPA for this webinar that will look at the environmental justice factors contributing to vulnerability and examples of how EPA and its partner programs have effectively worked to help build resilience with vulnerable communities. We will also explore how the Urban Water Partnership model can build more resilient networks.
You must register in advance to attend this webcast. Register at the Watershed Academy Webcast website at http://www.epa.gov/watershedacademy/watershed-academy-webcast-seminars.
Water Security Grand Challenge
This week Department of Energy (DOE) Secretary Rick Perry announces Water Security Grand Challenge, an initiative intended to “advance transformational technology and innovation to meet the global need for safe, secure, and affordable water.”The Water Security Grand Challenge sets the following goals for the United States to reach by 2030:
- Launch desalination technologies that deliver cost-competitive clean water
- Transform the energy sector’s produced water from a waste to a resource
- Achieve near-zero water impact for new thermoelectric power plants, and significantly lower freshwater use intensity within the existing fleet
- Double resource recovery from municipal wastewater
- Develop small, modular energy-water systems for urban, rural, tribal, national security, and disaster response settings.
DOE is partnering with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) on this effort and recently (October 25, 2018) hosted a stakeholder workshop to gather input from external experts on potential DOE prizes and next steps. Learn more about the Water Security Grand Challenge here.
National Network on Water Quality Trading Releases Demand Assessment Report
This week, the National Network on Water Quality Trading released its new report, Breaking Down Barriers: Priority Actions for Advancing Water Quality Trading. The report delves into the common barriers that keep utilities and municipalities from pursuing trading to achieve their clean water goals, and what proponents of trading can do to move beyond today’s challenges.
The report’s action agenda is a multi-stakeholder plan to:
- Simplify water quality trading program design and application.
- Ensure state regulatory agencies have adequate capacity and resources to engage on water quality trading.
- Clarify each administration’s and the U.S. EPA’s position on water quality trading.
- Actively address real and perceived risks for buyers.
- Identify and address risks of litigation.
- Create guidance on trading for stormwater.
- Build stakeholder relationships and trust.
The action agenda can help inform budgeting, grant-making, work-planning, and fundraising efforts for meeting clean water goals with water quality trading. And, it includes specific steps for state regulatory agencies, U.S. EPA, credit buyers, and nonprofit or foundation partners to, for example, provide clarity around models that quantify credits, create templates that ease program design, offer realistic expectations around the time and expenses involved, and ensure grant-making programs are better designed to support trading program development, among other efforts.
To learn more about what actions can help move water quality trading forward, download the report.
ASDWA Holds Annual Meeting
This week, the Association of State Drinking Water Administrators held its 2018 Annual Meeting in Des Moines, Iowa. While most topics focused on issues related to the Safe Drinking Water Act, significant time was taken to discuss potential areas of collaboration between state and federal clean water and drinking water partners. Areas of potential collaboration expressed included perfluorinated compounds, harmful algal blooms and nutrients, lead, and more. For more information on the meeting, go here.
WEF Webcast on Small Systems Management
WEF is hosting a webinar on small systems on November 8, 2018 from 1:00-2:30pm Eastern. As many small communities typically employ natural systems that feature passive biological treatment mechanisms with minimum mechanical energy inputs, nutrient removal for small municipal wastewater treatment systems is often challenging especially if the effluent limits are stringent and the community has to face financial stress to meet those limits. In this webinar session, WEF will present a few case studies on how small communities are able to achieve the nutrient removal limits using cost-effective and innovative treatment technologies.
For more information and to register, go here.
November 2018 Nutrients Permitting Workshop
The next 2018 Nutrients Permitting Workshop is less than two weeks away! The workshop will be held from Tuesday, November 6 to Thursday, November 8, 2018 in Gulfport, Mississippi at the Courtyard Marriott Gulfport Beachfront, 1600 East Beach Blvd., Gulfport, Mississippi. The hotel is full, so if you have not yet secured your lodging and you plan to attend please contact Annette Ivey at firstname.lastname@example.org or 202-756-0602 as soon as possible! To register and for more information, go here.
The agenda is available here.
For more information on the meeting, please contact Mark Patrick McGuire.