EPA Releases Draft 304(a) Aquatic Life Criteria for PFOA, PFOS
This week, EPA released PFOA and PFOS Ambient Water Quality Criteria protective of Aquatic Life Designated Uses, in two separate documents. For each, the criteria components are: Acute and Chronic Water Column; Invertebrate Whole-Body; Fish Whole Body; and, Fish Muscle. Because enough minimum data requirements (MDRs) could not be met to propose draft criteria for estuarine/marine species, EPA provided a benchmark value in Appendix L of each criteria document intended to be used by the State and Tribal Water Quality Protection Programs.
The criteria values can be found on page 21 of each document, and are expected to be protective of the freshwater community based on fish, invertebrate, amphibian, and plant data. Three of the criteria magnitudes, for fish and invertebrate tissues, are translations using bioaccumulation factors derived from national datasets. Neither analyte’s recommended values are consistently more stringent than the other; for example, Acute Water Column for PFOS is 3 mg/l (1-hour average not to be exceeded more than once in 3 years), while PFOA is 49 mg/l; meanwhile, Chronic Fish Muscle for PFOS is 2.91 mg/kg ww (instantaneously, not to be exceeded more than once in 10 years), while PFOA is 0.125mg/kg ww.
EPA notes several caveats about the criteria values, including:
- No one criteria takes primacy.
- The Recommendations will be fish- and invertebrate-protective only, not intended to protect aquatic life-dependent species i.e., predators of fish or invertebrates.
- The Recommendations do not have a Human Health Criteria component at this time i.e., not intended to protect human consumption of fish or human contact/consumption of surface water during recreation.
When published to the Federal Register, EPA seeks commenters’ “scientific views” for 30 days. Materials include: pre-publication FRN; criteria documents, a factsheet, an external peer-review document, and EPA’s response to external peer-review comments.
To view the 304(a) Recommendations and associated documents, visit:
PFAS: EPA Releases Analytical Method for Adsorbable Organic Fluorine, Memo on PFAS in Federally-Administered NPDES Permits
Draft Method 1621, “Screening Method for the Determination of Adsorbable Organic Fluorine (AOF) in Aqueous Matrices by Combustion Ion Chromatography (CIC),” is a single-laboratory validated method to screen for organofluorines in wastewater. This method detects organofluorines, which are extremely rare in nature and are instead associated with PFAS and non-PFAS fluorinated compounds such as pesticides and pharmaceuticals.
The method can broadly screen for thousands of PFAS compounds at the ppb level, but does not quantify all organofluorines with the same accuracy and has some known interferences that are discussed in the first section of the method. The method signals that organofluorines are present, but does not identify which organofluorines. Multi-laboratory validation will take place this summer. In the meantime, the Office of Water encourages interested parties to review and use the method, with the understanding that it is subject to revision and is not nationally required for CWA compliance monitoring until it has been promulgated through rulemaking.
The April 28, 2022 Memorandum, “Addressing PFAS Discharges in EPA-Issued NPDES Permits and Expectations Where EPA is the Pretreatment Control Authority” outlines PFAS controls EPA will utilize, in advance of forthcoming ELG- and criteria-enabled TBEL/WQBELs, where it is the NPDES permitting authority. The Memorandum also outlines expectations related to public notice for draft permits, including notice to systems with drinking water intakes downstream. A Memorandum directed to State permitting authorities is expected to follow.
The recommended permit conditions for industrial direct dischargers are:
- Effluent monitoring to DMRs using draft Method 1633 quarterly at expected industrial facilities, including CWTs, and used in conjunction with draft Method 1621 (screening method) as appropriate.
- Point discharger BMP conditions including product elimination or substitution, operations optimization/good housekeeping, equipment decontamination, and facility evaluation of current or historical uses of PFAS to inform PFAS discharge prevention plans.
- Stormwater BMPs specific to AFFF sites, including AFFF use moratoriums outside of actual fire response, AFFF elimination, and immediate cleanup requirements/ & engineered solutions (i.e., diversions from storm sewer systems) should a fire occur.
The recommended permit conditions for POTWs are:
- At least quarterly DMR monitoring of effluent and biosolids using draft Method 1633, supplemented by draft Method 1621.
- Requirements to identify and locate all IUs subject to the pretreatment program and characterize pollutant contributions, and provide notice to the EPA PT authority within 1 year.
- Require BMPs in IU permits including quarterly monitoring, local limits/BMPs, pollution prevention and product substitution, and good housekeeping.
EPA to Hold a Series of Listening Sessions with 319 Subgrantees
On September 27, 2022, EPA released a memo entitled Near-term Actions to Support Environmental Justice in the Nonpoint Source Program. In the memo, EPA committed to taking action to ensure equitable and fair access to the benefits of cleaner water provided by the Section 319 program. Among the actions EPA commits to in the memo is an ongoing dialogue with the NPS community as this work goes forward.
As a part of this dialogue, it is important to hear from those who might have received a pass through grant from a state or territory and those who have not yet received a 319 grant. The NPS program is hosting four listening sessions open to all NPS subgrantees and those considering applying for an NPS grant. If you are interested in participating in a listening session, please sign up through our Eventbright Registration for one of the following dates:
- Tuesday, May 17 at 1:00pm-2:30pm ET
- Wednesday, May 18 at 3:00pm-4:30pm ET
- Note: This session will focus on communities in the Mississippi River/Gulf of Mexico Watershed
- Tuesday, May 24 at 6:00pm-7:30pm ET
- Wednesday, May 25 at 3:00pm-4:30pm ET
These listening sessions will provide an overview of the NPS program and the Justice40 initiative, and a facilitated discussion with subgrantees. This discussion aims to understand the challenges facing environmental justice communities, Tribes, and Indigenous communities, how these challenges impact NPS programs working within these communities, and how EPA can help address these challenges through action in the Clean Water Act Section 319 programs.
NPS grants are given directly to states, territories, and tribes to support a variety of activities related to nonpoint source efforts. To learn more about the NPS program, please visit this webpage.
ACWA Joins Water Sector Organizations at Water Week 2022
ACWA joined 18 other organizations in celebrating Water Week 2022. Water professionals from across the country and across the sector, met in Washington to celebrate the historic Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL) and its $55 billion in new funding for water infrastructure over the next five years, explore how the sector is implementing this historic investment and discuss how the Administration and Congress can further elevate water as a national priority. ACWA President Andy Gavin (SRBC) joined the festivities and discussed ACWA’s priorities with several key decision-makers who attended the meeting.
Meetings and Webinars
2022 Environmental Finance Center (EFC) Grant Program
Date: May 3
Time: 1PM EST
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is hosting a webinar on May 3, 2022, to provide an overview of its 2022 Environmental Finance Centers (EFC) Grant program. EPA has announced the availability of approximately $68 million in competitive grant funding for the EFC Grant Program and solicits applications from eligible entities to become Regional and/or National EFCs. EPA encourages non-proﬁt organizations, universities, and other eligible entities to apply to receive funding as a designated EFC. A major priority for this program is to provide technical support to underserved and disadvantaged communities to help access Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL) funding through the Clean Water and Drinking State Revolving Funds.
Webinar speakers will provide an overview of the RFA and the EFC Grant Program. Participants can submit written questions on the webinar or through the contact provided on Grants.gov. EPA will provide an FAQ online at a later date, and a recording and slides will be posted on the EPA website after the webinar.
Creating the Water Workforce of the Future Webinar Series: Retaining a Strong and Resilient Utility Workforce
Date: May 4
Time: 1PM EST
As we all know, the water utility sector faces real challenges – not only to recruit a strong and resilient workforce but also to retain and cultivate these individuals once they are on board. Past webinars in this series have focused on ways in which utilities are using innovative strategies to attract workers. This webinar will focus on what happens next. You’ll hear from two leading utilities that are ensuring their employees have the right training, career progression opportunities, and other incentives to help them succeed and advance in their careers at the utility, not just in their current job.
Please join us on May 4th to hear and learn from two outstanding water utility managers.
This webinar is part of an ongoing webinar series hosted by EPA, in partnership with leading water sector organizations around the country. More information on this webinar series can be found here.
- Jim Horne, U.S. EPA
- Janet Barrow, Director of Human Resources and Administration, WaterOne, Johnson County, Kansas
- Gerard Yates, Deputy General Manager, Central Utah Water Conservancy District
NASEM Webinar: The Future of Managed Aquifer Recharge in the U.S.
Date: May 10 & 11
Time: 11AM – 2PM EDT
Join the Board on Earth Sciences and Resources and the Water Science and Technology Board for the public session of their joint meeting, taking place Tuesday May 11th and Wednesday May 12th from 11:00AM to 2:00PM EDT on both days. The public session will feature speakers and panelists discussing the future of managed aquifer recharge in the United States, a topic with implications for a wide range of audiences, including geology, hydrology, climate science, ecology, and agriculture.
Water Quality Nonpoint Source Pollution Grant Coordinator (Environmental Planner 3) | Washington Department of Ecology
Location: Lacey, WA
Closing Date: May 5, 2022
In this position you will collaborate with Ecology staff, the EPA, local governments, not-for-profits and federally recognized tribal governments to reduce nonpoint source pollution statewide, if this sounds fulfilling, this may be the job for you. You will serve as an independent project manager responsible for coordination and oversight of the federal Clean Water Act-Section 319 Nonpoint Pollution grant program and financial management of state and federal grants awarded to eligible recipients statewide.
For more information, click here.
Division Director, Division of Water Quality | Utah Department of Environmental Quality
Location: Salt Lake County, UT
Closing Date: May 10, 2022
The Department of Environmental Quality, Division of Water Quality, is seeking a Division Director. This position will report directly to the Executive Director of the Department of Environmental Quality and serve as the Executive Secretary of the Water Quality Board.
For more information, click here.