Unregulated contaminant data coming soon We expect the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to soon release data from its fourth Unregulated Contaminant Monitoring Rule process. The upcoming release is expected to be substantial and will reflect information that has been approved by participating water systems or uploaded after water system review periods expire. EPA continues to verify data quality, so it is possible that information included in this data set will subsequently be removed or revised. EPA seeking input on reuse acceleration plan EPA is seeking public input through July 1 on its action plan to accelerate water reuse. The agency announced Thursday it is looking for comments on topics such as which actions governmental bodies and utilities should take to grow reuse, key sources of information, examples of water reuse, applying reuse strategies within integrated water resource management and ways reuse can improve resiliency, security and sustainability. Comments can be submitted online by referring to Docket ID No. EPA-HQ-OW-2019-0174. AWWA unveiled risk and resilience certificate program AWWA unveiled its online Utility Risk and Resilience Certificate Program . The first of the five courses in the program -- Facilitating Compliance with America's Water Infrastructure Act of 2018 -- is complimentary. All five courses must be completed to obtain the Utility Risk and Resilience certificate. The first course provides a foundation for understanding the risk and resilience requirements contained in America’s Water Infrastructure Act (PL115-270), enacted in 2018. Some requirements within the new law have a March 2020 deadline. Course content includes examples of how utilities can apply various AWWA standards and resources to aid in compliance. EPA accepting 'Letters of Interest' for latest WIFIA loans The Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (WIFIA) program is accepting “Letters of Interest” for its latest round of loans through July 5. EPA, which administers WIFIA, also announced four priorities for this round of loans using fiscal year 2019 funds: • Readiness for a project to proceed toward development; • Provision for clean and safe drinking water, including reducing exposure to lead and emerging contaminants in the nation’s drinking water systems; • Repair, rehabilitation and replacement of aging infrastructure and conveyance systems; and • New or innovative approaches including water reuse and recycling. Applying for a WIFIA loan is a two-step process. First, interested entities must send a “Letter of Interest” to EPA, which is available online . That triggers a dialogue between the entity and EPA staff. The entities deemed virtually certain to obtain a loan are invited to proceed to the application phase. EPA published a Notice of Funding Availability in the Federal Register on April 5, starting a 90-day countdown for receiving the letters of interest. WIFIA webinar, info sessions happening soon EPA is hosting several upcoming opportunities to learn more about the WIFIA program. A webinar, titled “WIFIA Letter of Interest Submission and Selection Process for All Eligible Prospective Borrowers”, is on April 30. Interested participants can register online . The agency is also offering face-to-face information sessions with WIFIA staff: • May 8 – Atlanta , EPA Region 4 Office (WIFIA staff will be available for 30-minute individual meetings to learn more about projects and answer specific questions) • May 13 – Washington, D.C. , EPA Headquarters • May 23 – Phoenix, Arizona , Department of Administration Building (this session features a panel with WIFIA borrower, the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission) Updated history of EPA infrastructure funding just released Congressional appropriations for the Safe Drinking Water Act state revolving loan fund (SRF) program amount to $23 billion since 1997 and funding for the Clean Water Act SRF amount to $98 billion since 1987, according to an updated history of such funding newly-released by the Congressional Research Service. These two programs represent 25-32 percent of funding provided to EPA in recent years. The report comes out as congressional committees are developing budgets for federal agencies for fiscal year 2020. EPA’s infrastructure finance programs have been among the safest parts of the agency’s budget from past congressional budget-cutters. However, with growing concerns over the federal deficit, AWWA and related groups are staying in contact with Congress to communicate the value of these programs. The document, “Water Infrastructure Financing: History of EPA Appropriations,” provides a history of the development of the two SRF programs without making recommendations. The WIFIA loan program, which was created in 2014 and allocated its first funding in fiscal year 2017, has received $161 million to date. However, that does not represent WIFIA’s overall impact on financing water infrastructure, since the program leverages federal appropriations to an extraordinary degree. Every dollar appropriated for WIFIA results in about $100 being available for loans. Water groups convene to develop reuse recommendations This week, AWWA co-sponsored the first of two expert meetings to develop a recommendation to EPA on what its water reuse action plan should entail. AWWA is collaborating with the WateReuse Association, Association of Metropolitan Water Agencies, National Association of Clean Water Agencies and Water Environment Federation to fund the meetings. About 50 experts are working to clearly describe EPA’s role beyond what it has done so far, primarily summarizing existing state and local experiences. Of note is an emphasis by EPA on the reuse of produced water from oil and natural gas recovery, as well as combining on-farm water reuse with efforts to control nutrient release and improve water supply resiliency. The joint-association process continues through May. Members should anticipate that EPA will solicit comments shortly for a proposed action plan to be released in September 2019. Landmark federal legislation to manage Colorado River signed Congress passed and President Trump on Tuesday signed a law authorizing a water management plan to protect water supplies in Lake Mead and Lake Powell. The plan involves the states of Arizona, California, Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico, Utah and Wyoming, which must now ratify the pact, authorized under the Colorado River Drought Contingency Plan Authorization Act (H.R. 2030/S. 1057). The same day the law passed, the Imperial Irrigation District filed a suit asking a state court to block the agreement. The water management plan, which is in effect until 2026, is the result of years of negotiations among the states and stakeholders within those states. It sets new water conservation measures to protect water levels at the two lakes, including voluntary reductions in water withdrawals and new management strategies. Withdrawal restrictions escalate as lake levels drop. The region has been impacted by years of drought and population increases and shifts. Key data sets available to assist with source water protection Through the Insider and numerous other venues, AWWA has provided information about the 2018 Farm Bill and methods for utilities to help protect source waters through farm conservation programs. A summary of this information is available on AWWA’s Source Water Protection webpage . Two key resources are available to help utilities work with the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) and the agricultural community. The recently released 2017 Census of Agriculture from the National Agricultural Statistics Service provides detailed information about agricultural operations at the state and county levels. This information can help utilities work with their NRCS State Conservationist and the State Technical Committee . EPA’s Drinking Water Mapping Application to Protect Source Waters provides information relevant to source water protection at various scales. Vermont legislature sends PFAS bill to governor The Vermont legislature sent a bill to the governor that would expand the existing health advisory limit (20 parts per trillion) in public water systems for five compounds in the family of chemicals known as per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) to ground waters and surface waters. Public water systems would be required to begin monitoring for the five substances by Dec. 1. The Agency of Natural Resources would have to publish a proposed maximum contaminant level by February 2020, and then publish either a final rule or a determination not to regulate those five compounds by March 2021. The bill also requires Vermont’s Agency of Natural Resources to investigate whether PFAS compounds should be regulated in municipal sludge. The five compounds are perfluorooctanoic acid, perfluorooctane sulfonic acid, perfluorohexane sulfonic acid, perfluorononanoic acid and perfluoroheptanoic acid. Vermont is one of several states showing impatience with the slower pace of regulatory determinations over PFAS at the federal level. Other states include New Hampshire, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Michigan and North Carolina.