EPA/Army Release Proposal Revising NWPR/WOTUS
The EPA and Department of Army announced the signing of a proposed rule to revise the definition of “waters of the United States.” The agencies propose to put back into place the pre-2015 definition of “waters of the United States,” updated to reflect consideration of Supreme Court decisions. This familiar approach to “waters of the United States” would support a stable implementation of “waters of the United States” while the agencies continue to consult with states, Tribes, local governments, and a broad array of stakeholders in both the implementation of WOTUS and future regulatory actions. A prep-publication notice is available on the EPA website. Once the notice is published in the Federal Register there will be a 60 day comment period.
Pigott Named Deputy Assistant Administrator, Office of Water
Bruno Pigott was named as the Deputy Assistant Administrator for the Office of Water this week. Most recently, Pigott served as the Commissioner of the Indiana Department of Environmental Management (IDEM). Prior to serving as Commissioner, Pigott was the chief of staff and the assistant commissioner in the Office of Water quality for 10 years.
EPA Releases Funding Integration Tool for Source Water
EPA’s Source Water Protection Program has developed the Funding Integration Tool for Source Water (FITS), a new and innovative tool that will help States, Tribes and Territories navigate and leverage funding opportunities for activities that protect sources of drinking water. The FITS includes information on eleven federal funding sources and outlines how they may be used for activities related to source water protection planning and implementation. The tool provides tips for long-term cross-program planning and includes examples on how these funding sources have been leveraged in the past. FITS is a web-based, interactive tool available on EPA’s Source Water Protection webpage.
EPA worked across the federal government and with many stakeholders and partner organizations in the creation of the tool to encourage the protection of sources of drinking water. You are encouraged to explore the FITS as you consider the new opportunities of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill. Several of the programs included in FITS (including the Drinking Water State Revolving Fund) have been bolstered by this historic legislation.
Nitrogen in the Chesapeake Bay Watershed: A Century of Change, 1950 – 2050
The Chesapeake Bay is the largest and most productive estuary in the United States and is a vital environmental and economic resource. This week USGS released a report on the Chesapeake Bay, documenting the last 70 years of how the Chesapeake Bay watershed has changed due to land use changes, primarily from undeveloped forested land to agricultural and developed land. These increased human population related changes have led to increases in nitrogen in the streams, resulting in water quality impairments such as low oxygen or hypoxia in the Chesapeake Bay. The Chesapeake Bay TMDL has resulted in unprecedented government and community actions which have pioneered in water quality science, management, and regulation to improve water quality. Beyond land use change, considerations such as climate, hydrology, input sources, and management controls have played a role in determining magnitude and delivery of nitrogen to the Bay. This report provides a unique, long-term perspective (1950-2050) of the major drivers of nitrogen change up to the present, and forecasts how they may affect nitrogen into the future for the Chesapeake Bay watershed. The authors hope this information will provide insights and information to meet water resource needs and will foster increased civilian awareness and involvement in the protection and restoration.
Citation: Clune, J.W. and Capel, P.D., eds., 2021, Nitrogen in the Chesapeake Bay Watershed: A Century of Change, 1950 – 2050: U.S. Geological Survey Circular 1486, https://doi.org/10.3133/cir1486.
PFAS: PFOA, PFOS MCLG Materials for EPA Science Advisory Board Review Released
Pursuant to EPA’s development of a Maximum Contaminant Level Goal (MCLG) and National Primary Drinking Water Regulation (NPDWR) for PFAS under SDWA, EPA is seeking comment from the EPA Science Advisory Board (SAB). As part of the NPDWR proposed rulemaking, EPA prepared the four documents and appendices characterizing the available health effects data and the Agency’s rulemaking approach. On November 16th 2021, the documents were transferred to the SAB for their review and made publicly available here. The first of several SAB meetings about these documents will occur on December 16, 2021, 12-5pm EST, with final SAB recommendations informing an ultimate NPDWR expected in late Spring 2022. EPA’s Press Release on this matter is available here.
The four documents are:
- “Proposed Approaches to the Derivation of a Draft Maximum Contaminant Level Goal for Perfluorooctanoic Acid (PFOA) (CASRN 335-67-1) in Drinking Water”
- “Proposed Approaches to the Derivation of a Draft Maximum Contaminant Level Goal for Perfluorooctane Sulfonic Acid (PFOS) (CASRN 1763-23-1) in Drinking Water”
- “Draft Framework for Estimating Noncancer Health Risks Associated with Mixtures of Per- and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances (PFAS)”, which is based on longstanding EPA guidelines and guidance related to mixtures of two or more similar compounds in environmental media
- “Analysis of Cardiovascular Disease Risk Reduction as a Result of Reduced PFOA and PFOS Exposure in Drinking Water”
- “Appendices for Analysis of Cardiovascular Disease Risk Reduction as a Result of Reduced PFOA and PFOS Exposure in Drinking Water”
Among other updates, the derivation documents for PFOA and PFOS propose to modify EPA’s derived Reference Doses (RfD) and findings on carcinogenicity published in the 2016 Health Advisory Health Effects Support Documents (“2016 HESDs”) for PFOA and PFOS. The newly-derived RfD for PFOA is 1.5×10^-9mg/kg-day (0.0000000015) and for PFOS is 7.9×10^-9mg/kg-day (0.0000000079) based on vaccine antibody concentration reduction in children. The RfDs derived in the 2016 HESDs were 0.00002 for both PFOA and PFOS. Additionally, available evidence was deemed adequate to consider PFOA likely to be carcinogenic to humans and a more potent carcinogen than described in the 2016 HESD (EPA will seek to confirm this with the SAB). Available evidence was not deemed adequate to quantify or definitively conclude the carcinogenicity of PFOS. Other health-based values, methodologies, and supporting studies and data are available in the documents.
Environmental Justice Survey
ACWA is collecting information from states regarding any existing or future Environmental Justice programs. Primary Members should have received an email linking to the survey, and are asked to complete it by November 30.
DMR Nonreceipt Survey
ACWA is gathering state feedback on Discharge Monitoring Report Non-receipt Violation options. A short survey was circulated – please contact Sean Rolland if you did not receive this survey link.
Meetings and Webinars
Showcasing Leading Practices in Climate Adaptation: Experiences from the Water Sector to Empower Other Sectors and Communities
An Eight-Part Webinar Series Hosted by: National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Water Utility Climate Alliance (WUCA), The Water Research Foundation (WRF), and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency | November 2021 – February 2022
Climate change is one of the most significant challenges of the 21st century. This webinar series, sponsored jointly by NOAA’s Adaptation Sciences Program, WUCA, WRF, and EPA, will explore practical lessons and leading practices focused on steps to mainstreaming climate science and adaptation considerations into building for climate resilience. Having worked on climate adaptation for over a decade, water utilities have learned many lessons and developed approaches to share with peer sectors seeking to learn and take steps to adapt now. Expanding the exchange of knowledge across communities will also foster more effective adaptation and improve community resilience. The goal of these webinars is to help us, adaptation practitioners, advance our thinking about effective approaches by learning from others what has worked (or not worked). Beyond sharing examples from the water sector, these webinars will foster a multi-sectoral dialogue, sharing practical resources and tools for planning.
- Session 1: Leading Practices in Climate Adaptation |November 4, 2021, 2-3:00 pm EDT
Highlights a range of actions that organizations can implement for climate adaptation that have been ground-tested by WUCA agencies.
Speakers: Julie Vano, Aspen Global Change Institute | Laurna Kaatz, Denver Water and WUCA
- Session 2: Climate Adaptation Engineering Case Studies | November 18, 2021, 1-2:00 pm EST
Discusses adaptation opportunities in infrastructure design and project delivery processes and provides case studies of recent water infrastructure projects.
Speakers: Jason Giovannettone, Dewberry and the American Society of Civil Engineers | Kavita Heyn, Portland Water Bureau and WUCA
- Session 3: Business Function Mapping | December 2, 2021, 2-3:00 pm EST
Provides a framework-oriented process to mainstream climate change considerations within organizations.
Speakers: Emily Wasley, WSP USA | Laurna Kaatz, Denver Water and WUCA | Alexis Dufour, San Francisco Public Utilities Commission
- Session 4: Equity and Environmental Justice Considerations in Climate Adaptation | December 9, 2021, 1-2:30 pm EST
Highlights how equity can influence community goals and build partnerships with lessons learned and solutions to build equity while adapting to climate change.
Speakers: Mami Hara, US Water Alliance | TBD, US Environmental Protection Agency | Harriett Festing, Anthropocene Alliance
- Session 5: Green Stormwater Infrastructure | January 6, 2022, 1-2:30 pm EST
Describes community experiences in deciding to use green stormwater infrastructure, monetizing and quantifying benefits, developing critical stakeholder partnerships, and using available tools to evaluate options to include in adaptation plans.
Speakers: Janet Clements, Water Economics and Planning, Corona Consulting | Pinar Balci, Bureau of Environmental Planning and Analysis, New York City Department of Environmental Protection | Robyn DeYoung, US Environmental Protection Agency
- Session 6: Greenhouse Gas and Energy | January 20, 2022, 1-2:00 pm EST
Provides valuable information and inspiration for greenhouse gas mitigation or sewage thermal energy use projects from concept to implementation.
Speakers: Taylor Winchell, Denver Water and WUCA | Svetlana Taylor and Alaina Harkness, Current Innovation
- Session 7: Climate Warming and Impacts to Staff and Assets | February 3, 2022, 1-3:00 pm EST
Analyzes the impact of extreme temperature events on personnel and critical water utility physical infrastructure assets.
Speakers: Keely Brooks, Southern Nevada Water Authority and WUCA | Margaret Morrissey, Korey Stringer Institute
- Session 8: Federal and Other Funding for Adaptation | February 17, 2022, 1-2:00 pm EST
Reviews available resources for financial support of adaptation projects, improving understanding of successful strategies and connecting the audience with community-based and sector-focused funding.
Speakers: Kim Penn, NOAA Office of Coastal Management | David Goldbloom-Helzner, US Environmental Protection Agency
EPA Tools & Resources Training Webinar: Finding EPA Resilience Resources with the Environmental Resilience Tools Wizard
Date: December 1, 2021
Time: 3-4 PM EST
The Environmental Resilience Tools Wizard is a curated, online repository of EPA tools and resources designed to build community resilience to disasters. The wizard is designed to be used by state, tribal, and local environmental and emergency management agencies. It contains publicly available resources produced by EPA that address how to reduce disaster risks to the environment and human health. This webinar will provide an overview of the environmental dimensions of disasters and of building resilience and walkthrough examples of how to conduct searches and evaluate the results.
EPA Webinar: Smart Sewer Systems and Smart Data Infrastructure
Date: December 7, 2021
Time: 1 – 2 PM EST
Description: U.S. EPA is hosting a two-part webinar series on smart sewer systems and smart data infrastructure. Smart sewer systems use real-time monitoring and other advanced technologies to improve decision-making regarding capacity, management, and operation and maintenance programs. Smart data infrastructure is the ecosystem of technology tools and solutions focused on the collection, storage, and/or analysis of water-related data. Both webinars will highlight how communities have implemented these approaches to improve their sewer system management and decision-making.
Speakers: O.J. McFoy from the City of Buffalo, New York, Sewer Authority and Stacia Eckenwiler from City of Columbus, Ohio.
Community and Citizen Science: Making Your Data Count
Date: Wednesday, December 15
Time: 3-4 PM EST
How can community and citizen science contribute to environmental decision-making? Many EPA, state, and tribal environmental programs are increasingly using community and citizen science for environmental monitoring and addressing social and environmental justice concerns. A recent multi-stakeholder workshop explored gaps and needed improvements in data management that will allow for a more efficient flow of data from producers to users. This webinar will showcase community-oriented projects and share ideas from the workshop. Please attend this webinar to learn about the tools and practices used in these exciting community and citizen science projects and how EPA, states, and tribal governments can better support these efforts.
Recording: Putting the Brakes on Water Pollution: A story of industry and government collaboration for copper-free brakes
If you missed the webinar, the recording and slides are now posted on the EPA’s Copper-free Brake Initiative website here.
Onsite Septic Financial Aid Program Coordinator | Oregon Department of Environmental Quality
Location: Eugene, OR
Closing Date: November 21, 2021
The candidate will play an important role in the development of a new program, the Onsite Septic Financial Aid Program (OSFAP). OSFAP will improve public health and water quality by providing grants to agencies and other qualified institutions to assist Oregonians with failing septic systems. The candidate will assist with the procurement process including drafting documents, developing guidelines, and working with agency procurement and legal staff on requests for proposals and subsequent grant award activities.
For more information, click here.
Nitrogen Fertilizer Management Plan Coordinator | Minnesota Department of Agriculture
Location: St. Paul, MN
Closing Date: December 9, 2021
This lead position will be responsible for managing the coordination, implementation, and evaluation of the State of Minnesota’s Nitrogen Fertilizer Management plan (NFMP) and the Groundwater Protection Rule. This includes coordinating internal teams, managing projects with local partners, supporting outreach and education, strategy development and other tasks related to program tracking and performance evaluation. In combination, the NFMP and Groundwater Protection Rule provide a comprehensive effort to address nitrate in groundwater through voluntary adoption of practices and regulation, if necessary.
For more information, click here.