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Utility Advisories

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Materials available for National Lead Poisoning Prevention Week

AWWA has materials available to assist members who wish to use National Lead Poisoning Prevention Week (Oct. 21-27) as an opportunity to talk to their customers and other key stakeholders about reducing lead risks in the home, especially from lead pipes, plumbing and fixtures. National Lead Poisoning Prevention Week is an annual observance led by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, the U.S. EPA and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to raise awareness of the potential risks associated with lead paint, lead-contaminated soil and dust and lead in drinking water. Materials for this year’s national campaign are available through CDC. Of particular interest to water utilities is the Oct. 25 theme, “Get Your Drinking Water Tested for Lead.” Campaign organizers will distribute social media posts that day that say: You cannot see, taste, or smell lead in drinking water, but you can learn basic information about sources of lead in drinking water and suggestions for reducing exposure! #NLPPW2018 #leadfreekids https://www.epa.gov/ground-water-and-drinking-water/infographic-lead-drinking-water AWWA’s Lead Communications package can help water utilities communicate with their customers and other stakeholders about lead ...
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Hurricane Michael update

Hurricane Michael made landfall in the Florida panhandle as a Category 4 storm on October 10, heavily damaging the communities around Mexico Beach and Panama City. It then moved into southwest Georgia as a Category 3 storm, causing significant power outages across the region. It was downgraded to a tropical storm as it passed through the Carolinas. In response to the devastation left by Hurricane Michael, the Water/Wastewater Agency Response Networks (WARNs) have been activated in Florida, Georgia and North Carolina. The WARN system allows utilities from other states to quickly and efficiently assist utilities in need. Review WARN’s Situation Report for a current assessment of recovery efforts for Hurricane Michael. For up-to-date information about ongoing efforts to assist the water community affected by Hurricane Michael, visit AWWA’s Emergency Preparedness Resource Community.  AWWA encourages members wishing to help to consider financial donations to reputable emergency response organizations such as the American Red Cross.
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Water resources and infrastructure legislation passes Congress

Yesterday afternoon, the U.S. Senate passed legislation, S. 3021, America's Water Infrastructure Act of 2018, which addresses water infrastructure finance and updates portions of the Safe Drinking Water Act. The House already approved the bill in September, so now it will go to the president for his anticipated signature. AWWA Government Affairs has prepared a detailed summary of the bill. The bill reauthorizes the Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation program at $50 million for two more years and removes its “pilot” designation. The drinking water State Revolving Fund program is reauthorized for three years, for $1.174 billion in 2019, $1.3 billion in 2020 and $1.95 billion in 2021. S. 3021 also updates security and resiliency requirements for drinking water utilities, promoting an all-hazards approach that is supported in AWWA standards. The bill would also require that consumer confidence reports be provided twice, instead of once a year.  Questions can be directed to Tommy Holmes or Nate Norris in AWWA’s Government Affairs office.  
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2017 Amendments to Risk Management Plan now in effect

Water utilities should be aware that a compliance schedule is now in effect for the Risk Management Program (RMP) regulatory requirements, following two recent decisions from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit Court. RMP Program 2 and 3 facilities are advised to ensure they have coordinated response needs with local emergency planning and response organizations and document these coordination activities per § 68.93, if they have not already done so as part of routine planning activities. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has provided more RMP Amendments compliance information on its website.    On Aug. 17, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit Court issued its decision vacating a June 2017 EPA rule that delayed the effective date of the January 2017 RMP regulatory requirements (known as the RMP Amendments rule). The amendments modified accident prevention program elements, emergency preparedness requirements and provisions related to information sharing to the public and local emergency planners/responders.  On Sept. 21, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit Court issued its mandate for the vacatur of the RMP Delay rule, which ...
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Revised 3Ts for Reducing Lead in Drinking Water in Schools and Child Care Facilities released

Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency released its revised 3Ts for Reducing Lead in Drinking Water in Schools and Child Care Facilities toolkit. The updated materials provide guidance and resources for schools, child care facilities, states and water systems to implement voluntary lead in drinking water testing programs.  The manual introduces the EPA’s new 3Ts program, which focuses on training, testing and taking action. It promotes clear communication early and often as a core part of an effective program.  The manual is presented as a web-based interactive toolkit with customizable templates and supplemental factsheets and checklists available. It’s organized into seven sections: • Communicating the 3Ts • Learning about Lead in Drinking Water • Planning Your 3Ts Program • Developing a Sampling Plan • Conducting Sampling and Interpreting Results • Remediation and Establishing Routine Practices • Recordkeeping Those interested in learning more about the revised 3Ts manual are encouraged to attend EPA’s webinar on Oct. 25, 2 – 3:30 EDT. Registration is required. The revised 3Ts manual comes as the EPA recently announced a new grant, authorized under the Water Infrastructure Improvements for the Nation Act, that will support the ...
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Water Insiders

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Water Utility Insider - Oct. 19, 2018

Congress passes large water bill before recess Before recessing for their final campaign efforts, Congress passed S. 3021, America’s Water Infrastructure Act, a bill boosting water infrastructure investment and making some significant changes to drinking water policy. We hear President Trump may sign it into law Monday. On the positive side, as cited in earlier Insiders, the bill reauthorizes and provides strong authorized funding for the Drinking Water State Revolving Loan Fund program and the Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act program. It also updates drinking water security and resiliency policy in a manner that dovetails nicely with AWWA’s own standard in that realm, AWWA J100-10 (R13) Risk and Resilience Management of Water and Wastewater Systems.    What may be more challenging for some utilities is a new requirement that Consumer Confidence Reports be provided twice a year instead of the current once a year. The bill is vague on how often the underlying data must be updated. The bill does put it into law that CCRs may be provided electronically. Previously, this was a matter of interpretation by the U.S Environmental ...
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Water Utility Insider - Oct. 5, 2018

New online lead toolkit for schools available from EPA The effort to address lead contamination continued this week with an announcement from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency that it has released a new online document titled 3Ts for Reducing Lead in Drinking Water. The document provides tools to help schools, child care facilities, state agencies and water utilities implement voluntary lead testing systems. It features an interactive web-format and includes modules, customizable templates, and tools that can help schools when implementing their lead testing programs. The “Ts” represent training, testing and taking action. The agency will hold a webinar on the toolkit at 2 p.m. EDT on Oct. 25. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is offering another webinar at 3 p.m. EDT on Oct. 10 on a grant program to help schools and child care facilities test for lead. This is one of three related grant programs authorized in the Water Infrastructure Improvements for the Nation Act of 2016. Water infrastructure/resources bill faces another delay The full U.S. Senate was supposed to vote this week on a water resources/water infrastructure bill, S. 3021, ...
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Water Utility Insider - Sept. 21, 2018

House passes water infrastructure, SDWA bill In a Sept. 13 voice vote, The U.S. House of Representatives passed a broad water resources development bill reauthorizing the Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (WIFIA) program and incorporating updates to portions of the Safe Drinking Water Act. The ball is now in the Senate’s court. This legislation, S. 3021, contains a number of provisions that AWWA and other water organizations have sought. Reauthorization of the SRF program and WIFIA were key wins for AWWA and the water sector overall. The WIFIA reauthorization is for two years, but water resource bills are typically enacted in two-year cycles. The SRF reauthorization is for three years; authorization for the drinking water SRF had expired in 2003. AWWA had a strong hand in the drafting of the security and resiliency provisions, which align closely with AWWA’s J100-10 (R13) Risk and Resilience Management of Water and Wastewater Systems. Another key win was the new requirements that downstream utilities be notified when a contaminant spill occurs. S. 3021 codifies that Consumer Confidence Reports can be provided electronically. Previously, ...
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Water Utility Insider - Sept. 7, 2018

House panel focuses on perfluorinated chemicals The U.S. House Subcommittee on the Environment heard strong calls for federal action on perfluorinated chemicals, or PFAS (per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances) in a hearing Thursday. The calls for action included everything from drinking water standards, to cleanup, to interagency approaches. Rep. Frank Pallone, D-N.J., ranking minority member for the full House Energy and Commerce Committee, called for a “binding and enforceable” drinking water standard and for Congress to set a timeline for that to happen. “The more we test, the more we find,” Pallone said.  Some of the strongest language came from Erik Olson of the Natural Resources Defense Council: “PFAS are the new PCBs – but they may be more widespread and dangerous…[c]onsidering recent data showing that extremely low levels of these compounds and an array of other PFAS are harmful, it is likely that tens of millions of U.S. residents may have unsafe PFAS levels in their tap water.” He called for states to “immediately step into the vacuum by issuing strong, health-protective drinking water and cleanup standards, because we cannot trust ...
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