New Steps to Protect Communities from PFAS and Other Emerging Chemicals of Concern
EPA is proposing to modify the definition of hazardous waste as it applies to cleanups at permitted hazardous waste facilities. This modification would assure that EPA’s regulations clearly reflect EPA’s and authorized states’ authority to require cleanup of the full range of substances that the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) intended, including emerging chemicals of concern, such as PFAS, that may present substantial hazards, at permitted facilities. Currently, the regulations do not clearly and accurately reflect the full authorities granted to EPA by Congress.
EPA is also proposing to amend its RCRA regulations to add multiple PFAS compounds as hazardous constituents. These PFAS would be added to the list of substances identified for consideration in facility assessments and, where necessary, further investigation and cleanup through the corrective action process at hazardous waste treatment, storage and disposal facilities.
These proposed rules would strengthen protections for communities and drinking water supplies located near the 1,740 permitted hazardous waste facilities across the nation. Corrective action under RCRA requires facilities that treat, store or dispose of hazardous waste to protect health and the environment by investigating and cleaning up hazardous releases into soil, groundwater, surface water, and air. Hazardous waste cleanups are a crucial part of EPA’s focus on environmental justice and help to protect public health in part by addressing disparities in access to a clean and safe environment.
EPA will be publishing these proposals in the Federal Register in the next few weeks. The “Definition of Hazardous Waste Applicable to Corrective Action from Solid Waste Management Units” proposed rule will be open for public comment for 30 days whereas the “Listing of Specific PFAS as Hazardous Constituents” proposed rule will be open for public comment for 60 days. Upon publication, EPA welcomes comment on each proposal.
EPA and NEA Launch Inaugural Artist-in-Residence Program
The White House and National Endowment for the Arts and EPA Assistant Administrator for Water Radhika Fox will announce EPA’s inaugural Artist-in-Residence program. The program will be lead in collaboration with NEA and will recognize the profound impact that arts and culture play in shaping our lives, communities, and nation. By launching this program, EPA is investing in arts and culture to boost engagement, awareness and participation in critical water challenges ranging from aging infrastructure to climate impacts like flooding and storm surge to investment in safe drinking water.
The first-of-its-kind program will feature six locations from EPA’s National Estuary Program and Urban Waters Federal Partnership, with the goal of incorporating arts and cultural strategies into these place-based programs.
The six locations include:
- The Passaic River and Bronx and Harlem River Urban Waters Federal Partnerships: New York-New Jersey Harbor and Estuary Program
- The San Juan Estuary Partnership
- The Greater Philadelphia Area/Delaware River Watershed Urban Waters Federal Partnership: Partnership for the Delaware Estuary
- The Green-Duwamish Watershed Urban Waters Federal Partnership: Puget Sound Partnership
- The Middle Rio Grande/Albuquerque Urban Waters Federal Partnership
- The Mystic River Watershed Urban Waters Federal Partnership: Massachusetts Bays National Estuary Partnership
EPA Publishes Analytical Methods for PFAS: Method 1633 and Method 1621
This week EPA published two analytical methods for PFAS: Method 1633 and Method 1621, as part of the PFAS Strategic Roadmap. The intent is that these analytical methods will be used by laboratories to test samples for PFAS in a consistent and reliable way.
The following note outlines the steps and intended outcomes of these methods:
“The agency collaborated closely with the Department of Defense to validate Method 1633, which measures 40 PFAS compounds and is suitable for use in various applications, including compliance monitoring. Method 1621 measures adsorbable organic fluorine in wastewater, a surrogate for measuring the total amount of PFAS, which will also help detect fluorine-containing pesticides and pharmaceuticals. These methods are a significant step forward in efforts to identify what PFAS are present in environmental samples, and at what levels, enabling EPA, states and Tribes, wastewater facilities, and other entities to monitor a range of different effluents and media for PFAS, including under the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) Program.
As a next step, EPA expects to propose both methods for adoption in the Code of Federal Regulations, a necessary step for them to be nationally required for Clean Water Act use. That formal promulgation process will include public comment. Both methods and their multi-laboratory validation study reports are available on the Agency’s Clean Water Act Laboratory Methods website.”
Draft Method 1634 – 6PPD/ 6PPD-q
Used for 60+ years, 6PPD is also found in other rubber products such as footwear, synthetic turf infill, and synthetic playground surfaces. 6PPD reacts with ozone in the air to form 6PPD-quinone (6PPD-q), which EPA-funded research in 2020 found to be linked to the deaths of coho salmon in urban Puget Sound streams. Exposures occur when runoff containing the chemical is washed from parking lots and streets into streams and other bodies of water.
EPA’s Office of Water, in partnership with EPA Region 10 and Eurofins Environment Testing – Sacramento, has published Draft Method 1634, an analytical procedure to test for 6PPD-q in surface water and stormwater. The draft method can be accessed at this link and is linked through EPA’s CWA methods homepage.
EPA Announces NPS Funding Opportunities for States
The National EPA Nonpoint Source Program has announced that it has capacity on a contract to support additional, relatively short-term state/territory/Tribal NPS-focused projects in the categories below:
- Reduce Pollution from Agriculture NPS Activities
- Mitigate NPS Impacts of Natural Hazards
- Improve Equity of NPS Program Benefits and Outcomes
- Provide Technical Assistance to State Revolving Fund (SRF) Programs to Advance Nonpoint Source or Source Water Protection Priorities
Please share this news with your states/territories/Tribes and send any project ideas/proposals to EPA by Wednesday, February 7.
Any new project selected by HQ would be able to start by mid-February, and would ideally be wrapped up by this June 29. However, if a project is likely to go beyond June 29, that is not a deal-breaker, as EPA can potentially continue the new project under the next contract option period beginning June 30. Individual project funding levels will depend upon the project type(s) and level of interest; for planning purposes, assume ~$15-40K/project for categories 1-3 above and ~$50K for category 4.
Please contact Ward Scott with any questions. And please feel free to forward this to others; thank you for spreading the word about this new opportunity.
CISA, EPA Jointly Release Water and Wastewater Cybersecurity Toolkit
This week Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) jointly released a Water Sector Cybersecurity Toolkit to aid Water and Wastewater Sector (Water Sector) stakeholders in bolstering their cybersecurity preparedness across the nation. To build security and resilience within the Water Sector, CISA works closely with EPA to deliver tools, resources, training and information that can help organizations within this Sector. Together, CISA brings technical expertise as the nation’s cyber defense and infrastructure security agency, and EPA offers extensive expertise as the Water and Wastewater Sector Risk Management Agency. The toolkit includes useful resources, including a newly published Cybersecurity Incident Response Guide, vital CISA and EPA services including free vulnerability scanning assessments, cybersecurity performance goals alignment, cyber hygiene tools and much more.
For more information, please visit: cisa.gov/water.
2024 Mid-Year Meeting Registration
Dates: March 26 & 27, 2024
Venue: The Washington Marriott Metro Center DC
Registration is live for the upcoming 2024 ACWA Mid-Year Meeting. This year’s meeting will take place on March 26 & 27, 2024, in Washington, D.C. This will be a closed meeting intended for state members and federal guests. The agenda is in development and will be updated as appropriate.
Make your room reservations today! The reservation group room rate ends March 1st, 2024.
Register now for the Early Bird Rate! The Early Bird Rate has been extended to February 9th!
Check back here for more updates.
2024 National CAFO Roundtable – Draft Agenda Added
Location: Kansas City, Missouri
Date: April 30 – May 3, 2024
Purpose: The 2024 National CAFO Roundtable supports the implementation of animal agriculture programs nationwide by helping support states and EPA to further identify challenges & barriers to Concentrated Animal Feeding Operation (CAFO) program implementation, sharing new technologies, best management practices, showcasing innovative state programs and initiatives, facilitating discussion on national program enhancements and improvements, identifying state resource needs including tools, training and guidance, and proposing solutions to challenges and barriers faced by the agriculture industry and other stakeholders.
Attendees: The CAFO Roundtable is a meeting of state AFO/CAFO regulators and EPA regional and headquarters representatives. Attendees generally include:
- State program managers, permit writers and inspectors involved in regulating AFOs/CAFOs
- EPA Headquarter and Regional staff involved in AFO/CAFO regulation
- Partnering state and federal agency staff that provide technical and/or regulatory assistance to AFOs/CAFOs
- Invited Guests
ACWA Meeting Webpage: 2024 National CAFO Roundtable – Association of Clean Water Administrators (acwa-us.org)
2024 State Summit on Water Reuse – Registration Open
Registration is now open for the 2024 State Summit on Water Reuse. This year’s Summit will occur on March 11, 2024, in conjunction with the annual WateReuse Association Symposium (March 11-14) at the Hilton Denver City Center in Denver, CO.
The primary goal of the State Summit is to provide a place for state regulators to share and learn about a range of water reuse issues, network with state colleagues, and coordinate with representatives from select federal agencies. The Summit will feature perspectives from many states and provide an opportunity for participants to share their thoughts and key questions with colleagues from around the country.
There is no registration fee for the State Summit, but registration will be limited to state officials. However, space and reimbursement funds are limited. Please register for the Summit by contacting Ward Scott with ACWA or Ashley Voskuhl with ASDWA by February 7, 2024.
Discounted (Presenter) Registration to the WateReuse 2024 Symposium: Additionally, State Summit participants can receive discounted registration for the full WateReuse Association WateReuse Symposium and its many technical sessions. State Summit participants registering for the WateReuse 2024 Symposium should register by February 9 as “Presenters” to receive the discounted ($850.00) rate. Please click here for more information and to register for the WateReuse 2024 Symposium.
2024 Water Quality Standards Workshop
Dates: April 16-18, 2024
Venue: Albuquerque Marriott Pyramid North, Albuquerque, NM
ACWA will be holding the 2024 Water Quality Standards Workshop April 16-18, 2024, in Albuquerque, New Mexico.
This workshop is a national meeting for State program managers and staff involved in water quality standards, as well as for both Regional and Headquarters-based U.S. Environmental Protection Agency managers and staff. This workshop will primarily feature case studies and presentations on how states have worked towards developing water quality standards for complex criteria.
More information on lodging will be shared later. ACWA does anticipate having travel support for state staff.
Lodging is now available at the Albuquerque Marriott Pyramid North. ACWA has procured the local gov’t per diem rate of $141/night. Reserve your hotel room with this link.
Meetings and Webinars
Water Infrastructure Funding Decision Making Tools and Resources Webinar
Date: February 7, 2024
Time: 12:30 PM ET
Across America, water utilities act as anchor institutions safeguarding public health, protecting the environment, and sustaining critical water infrastructure investments for their communities. In today’s rapidly evolving and challenging project decision-making environment, traditional project alternative analysis can sometimes fall short. The Augmented Alternative Analysis (AAA) incorporates past utility experiences and lessons learned to provide you with a simple, sound, easily explainable and transparent way to incorporate community values and best meet utility needs as you evaluate and select infrastructure investments.
This webinar will also provide a high-level overview of four new learning modules posted to the Water Finance Clearinghouse. The purpose of these learning modules is to provide an interactive learning experience for users who are interested in exploring specific water finance topics.
Upcoming Intro to ECHO Webinar
Date: February 13, 2024
Time: 1:30-2:30 PM ET
Join U.S. EPA for its next Enforcement and Compliance History Online (ECHO) webinar on Tuesday, February 13, 2024, 1:30-2:30 PM Eastern Time. This Intro to ECHO webinar explores how to use the EPA/State Dashboards and other dashboards available through ECHO. The EPA/State dashboards show a visual depiction of enforcement and compliance data as it relates to agency performance. We will cover examples of using the dashboards for several programs, including Benzene Fenceline Monitoring and PFAS Analytic Tools.
Addressing Emerging Contaminants in Source Water Using BIL Grants and Forgivable Loans Webinar
Date: February 8, 2024
Time: 3:00 PM ET
The national Source Water Collaborative (SWC) is hosting this webinar to showcase the ways in which Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL) funding can support source water protection by addressing emerging contaminants in drinking water sources. The webinar is open to the public and designed for states, water utilities, source water protection staff, state BIL funding program staff, local SWCs, federal agencies, and other water stakeholders.
This webinar is part of a larger BIL Learning Exchange made up of a set of several webinars and related resources to help water stakeholders use the new BIL funding for source water protection. Future webinar series topics will include the role of Environmental Finance Centers and other technical assistance opportunities, the environmental justice implications of BIL, and the role of forests and BIL funding through U.S. Forest Service. Sign up here to receive notifications about future BIL-related webinars and other news from the national SWC.
EPA Webinar – “Effectiveness of Nutrient Management for Reducing Nutrient Losses from Agricultural Fields”
On Feb. 28, 2024, from 2:00 to 3:00 pm ET, the EPA Office of Research and Development will host a Water Research webinar, “Effectiveness of Nutrient Management for Reducing Nutrient Losses from Agricultural Fields.” Please click here to register for the webinar.
This presentation will discuss two investigations focused on nitrogen (N) and phosphorus (P) and emphasizes the need for government agencies to work together to address potential economic losses due to implementation of lower fertilizer rates for water quality improvement.
EPA/USACE Waters of the United States Listening Sessions
On February 13 and 14, 2024, from 1:00 to 3:30 pm ET, EPA and USACE will host listening sessions for state and tribal officials on identifying issues relating implementation of CWA programs and the definition of “Waters of the United States” in light of the recent U.S. Supreme Court decision in Sackett and EPA’s recently finalized “Revised Definition of ‘Waters of the United States’ Rule”. The listening sessions will take place:
- Feb. 13, 2024, from 1:00 to 3:30 pm ET: Register Here
- Feb. 14, 2024, from 1:00 to 3:30 pm ET: Register Here
Attendees may sign up for a three-minute time slot to provide verbal input. Please note that there is no guarantee that attendees will have an opportunity to speak. Pre-registration to speak is on a first come first served basis and will end when capacity has been reached. Please do not sign up to speak at more than one listening session. Note that if you select ‘yes’ within the registration form and are confirmed for registration, you will be called upon by name during the listening session. Confirmed speakers will receive an invitation to join the session as a Panelist with additional information. Requests to speak may also be taken during the listening session, pending availability. Registration will end by noon the day prior to each session.
Participants can register to listen rather than speak. Additionally, once the speaking slots are filled, participants can continue to register to listen to the session. There is, however, a capacity limit to these listening sessions, and once that capacity has been met, registration will be closed.
The agencies have recorded a video overview of the pre-2015 regulatory regime and the 2023 rule as amended, which is available on the EPA website here.
Environmental Compliance Inspector
Location: Helena, MT
Closing Date: February 27, 2024
The Environmental Compliance Inspector performs scientific and technical analyses, calculations, assessments and determinations essential to the implementation of water quality programs in the State of Montana. Responsibilities include: Providing compliance assistance, training, and support to facilities to comply with water quality rules and permit requirements; Conducting inspections of various industrial, commercial, residential, and municipal wastewater treatment facilities; Responding to alleged Water Quality Act complaints and violations for permitted facilities; Determining whether facilities are operating in compliance with water quality rules and permit requirements; Composing clear, concise, and legally defensible documents that support DEQ’s mission and the program goals, objectives, and priorities; and Acting as a liaison for the Department to the public and industry on water quality compliance; and Initiating enforcement action and managing the subsequent action for facilities outside of compliance.
For more information and to apply, visit State of Montana Careers.
TMDL Writer (Water Resource Professional II)
Location: Santa Fe, NM
Closing Date: February 12, 2024
Job ID #140782
The Surface Water Quality Bureau (SWQB) preserves, protects, and improves New Mexico’s surface water quality for present and future generations. This position will support the mission of the SWQB by developing the Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) planning documents, assisting with assessment of surface water quality data to develop the Clean Water Act List of Impaired Waters and developing other water quality planning documents. This position is responsible for developing TMDL planning documents, managing water quality data, running moderately complex water quality models, and presenting technical documents to the public. This position also assists with periodic water quality monitoring surveys and water quality assessments.
If you are interested in applying, please visit NM’s Job Opportunities website to review the job posting and complete your application!
Water Quality Monitoring Technician
Location: Helena, MT
Closing Date: February 8, 2024
The Water Quality Monitoring Technician is responsible for assisting pre-field work, such as calibration and maintenance of devices, inventory and requisition of field season equipment; field work, such as assisting in various chemical, biological and physical sampling procedures; and non-field work efforts such as data entry, transporting samples, and gathering supplies. This position requires travel across the state of Montana to various watersheds. Training on sampling methods will be provided to the successful candidates; however, knowledge of surface water sampling methods is a plus. Successful candidates will collect nutrient, metals, sediment, E.coli, algae, and macroinvertebrate samples as well as monitor flow and the current conditions of wetlands. Project opportunities include water quality and pollution source assessments, harmful algal bloom response monitoring, wetland effectiveness monitoring, and restoration project effectiveness monitoring. The Water Quality Monitoring Technician may also assist with education and outreach related to monitoring results and promoting voluntary water quality improvement practices.
For more information and to apply, visit State of Montana Careers.
Environmental Scientist III
Location: Frankfort, KY
Closing Date: February 9, 2024
The Kentucky Division of Water, Water Quality Branch is seeking an individual to work across monitoring, assessment, TMDL, and standards programs to develop and maintain tools for water quality data compilation, review, analysis, and reporting.
For more information and to apply, visit https://personnel.ky.gov/Pages/Careers.aspx.
Environmental Engineer – Wastewater
Location: Des Moines, Iowa
Closing Date: February 6, 2024 11:59 PM CST
The Iowa Department of Natural Resources presents an exciting opening for a wastewater engineer who embodies technical proficiency, a strong customer-centric approach, and a keen eye for detail. We invite you to join our Wastewater Engineering team in the role of an Environmental Engineer to contribute to the preservation of water quality. This position is situated within the Wastewater Engineering Section of the Environmental Services Division’s Water Quality Bureau. As a wastewater engineer, you will play a pivotal role in our engineering team, dedicated to safeguarding the environment and public health. Your responsibilities will encompass the critical tasks of reviewing construction permit applications, managing wastewater treatment and collection system infrastructure projects, which include approving engineering planning reports, antidegradation alternatives analyses, plans and specifications. You will also be responsible for granting construction permits primarily for the Clean Water State Revolving Loan Fund (CWSRF) funded wastewater projects and some non-funded wastewater projects.
For more information, visit Wastewater Engineer.
Emerging Contaminants Coordinator
Location: Worcester, MA
Closing Date: Open until filled (first consideration will be given to applications received within 14 days of the January 24th posting date).
Under the supervision of the SWQS Section Chief or designee, the Emerging Contaminants Coordinator will lead efforts related to PFAS, including the development of water quality standards, management of PFAS and other EC monitoring and assessment projects, and coordination within MassDEP and other agencies on EC/PFAS issues.
For more details on how to apply, click here.
Stormwater Quality Specialist (Natural Resource Specialist 3)
Location: Eugene, Medford, or Salem, Oregon (finalist may choose work location)
Closing Date: February 12, 2024
For more information and to apply, visit Oregon Job Opportunities.
Water Quality Modeler
Location: Helena, MT
Closing Date: February 4, 2024
For more information and to apply, visit State of Montana Careers webpage.
Be sure to check out other opportunities on ACWA’s jobs page.