Senate Committee Approves Two Water Infrastructure Bills
On Wednesday, the U.S. Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works approved two major water infrastructure bills, America’s Water Infrastructure Act of 2020 (S. 3591) and the Drinking Water Infrastructure Act of 2020 (S. 3590), by unanimous consent.
America’s Water Infrastructure Act of 2020 provides for $17 billion in new federal authorization for both Army Corps of Engineers and EPA projects and programs that will, among other things, upgrade wastewater systems across the country, train the next generation of water and wastewater workers, and reauthorize clean water revolving loan funds. It also requires the Army Corps to take just two years to conduct feasibility studies in order to jumpstart potential projects. In markup, Senator Kevin Cramer offered an amendment that sought to protect states’ rights over water supplies. The amendment was not approved, as committee members voiced concerns that the amendment language sets a precedent for states to preempt federal law and could unintentionally allow upstream states to negatively affect downstream states without federal oversight.
The Drinking Water Infrastructure Act of 2020 provides an estimated $1.25 billion in federal authorization to ensure our drinking water is safe. The bill is notably focused on PFAS, mandating that EPA set drinking water standards for PFOA and PFOS and expanding an EPA grant program to clean up groundwater and drinking water contaminated with PFAS.
This legislation “will be critical to our economic recovery after the immediate pandemic response is behind us,” said Chairman John Barrasso. Both bills will now go on to the full Senate for consideration.
For updated details on ACWA meetings, please check our “Events” page.
Aquatic Pesticide Permitting Specialist (Environmental Specialist 5) – Washington Department of Ecology
Washington’s Water Quality Program is looking to hire an Aquatic Pesticide Permitting Specialist at their Headquarters building in Lacey, WA. This position is the senior program expert on aquatic nuisance and noxious plants, aquatic plant and algae control, and pesticide use to control mosquitoes and gypsy moths, manage fisheries in lakes, and aquatic invasive species. To learn more, go here.
Senior Surface Water Hydrologist (Hydrogeologist 3) – Washington Department of Ecology
The Environmental Assessment Program (EAP) within the Department of Ecology is looking to fill a Senior Surface Water Hydrologist (Hydrogeologist 3) position at their Headquarters Building in Lacey, WA. This Senior Surface Water Hydrologist position serves as a senior level Hydrologist in the Freshwater Monitoring Unit, helping the unit monitor and report freshwater surface water quality across Washington State. To learn more, go here.
EPA Early Warning SNC Dashboard Webinar
May 19, 2020 from 2:00 PM to 4:00 PM Eastern Time
EPA is hosting a webinar to help states better track the compliance status of individually permitted NPDES facilities with the updated NPDES Early Warning SNC Dashboard. The NPDES Early Warning SNC Dashboard allows users to view SNC statuses for the last official quarter, subsequent unofficial quarter, and current quarter in progress (“real-time status”). Real-time statuses indicate whether a facility would be in SNC if nothing changed for the rest of the current quarter, or whether a single additional effluent violation could cause SNC (“warning”).
This national training webinar for the NPDES Early Warning SNC Dashboard will help states better understand and use this complex and powerful tool. The first hour of this training will be an introduction to the Dashboard and the second hour will focus on conducting more advanced analysis. During the training, users will be doing exercises in the Dashboard.
Checklist for those planning to attend:
1. Ensure you are able to access the NPDES Early Warning SNC Dashboard prior to the training. You will need to use the Dashboard for this training and we will only be able to provide very limited assistance to those who encounter trouble accessing the Dashboard during the training.
2. Familiarize yourself with the NPDES Early Warning SNC Dashboard prior to the training event. Familiarity with the dashboard will ensure you get the most out of this training session.
For more information on this training opportunity please contact Sean Rolland.
EPA Research on SARS-CoV-2 in the Environment Webinar
May 27, 2020, 2:00 – 3:00 PM Eastern Time
Registration: Click here
This research will help states & territories, tribes, and local governments, including public health agencies, guide homeowners, business owners, and others reduce the risk of exposure. This webinar will highlight research EPA is working on with CDC including the following:
- Environmental Cleanup and Disinfection: EPA researchers are assessing the use disinfectants on many different surfaces and objects. They will also determine the best environmental sample collection methods and the limits of detection for SARS-CoV-2. To determine the effectiveness of these approaches, researchers are also developing a method to quickly analyze surface samples for the live virus, both before and after the disinfection process. Strategies to decontaminate PPE will also be developed.
- Wastewater Virus Detection: Researchers are studying whether SARS-CoV-2 can be detected in wastewater. This work will focus on understanding viral loads, or how much of the virus is present, whether it is in an infectious state, and how it moves through the wastewater system. This information could help public health agencies by acting as an ‘early warning system’ and can identify if there is an outbreak in a specific community.
- Salivary Antibody Assay Development: Researchers are developing an easy, non-invasive, and reliable antibody assay as a tool for public health agencies to help determine the true rate of infection across the country.