This afternoon the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released a memorandum on enforcement discretion to help states and regulated entities address the coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis. It was released by Susan Bodine, the EPA’s assistant administrator for enforcement and compliance assurance. Please note that individual states have already or may in the future distribute state-specific guidance. Water systems should remain very aware of such state specific instructions. Specific provisions in the memorandum for drinking water systems include: “The EPA expects operators of such systems to continue normal operations and maintenance as well as required sampling to ensure the safety of our drinking water supplies. The EPA expects laboratories performing analysis for water systems to continue to provide timely analysis of samples and results.” “In anticipation of worker shortage and laboratory capacity problems, the EPA considers the following tiers of compliance monitoring to assure the safety of our drinking water supplies and prioritize prevention of acute risks. Of highest priority is monitoring required under National Primary Drinking Water Regulations to protect against microbial pathogens. Additional priorities include nitrate/nitrite and Lead and Copper Rule monitoring followed by contaminants for which the system has been non-compliant. States may wish to adopt similar priorities.” “EPA strongly encourages public water systems to consult with the state and EPA regional offices without delay if issues arise that prevent the normal delivery of safe drinking water and encourages states to continue to work closely with the EPA on measures to address the potential impacts of COVID-19. The EPA also encourages certified drinking water laboratories to consult with the state and the EPA if issues arise that prevent laboratories from conducting analyses of drinking water contaminants.” General provisions include: Entities should make every effort to comply with their environmental compliance obligations. If compliance is not reasonably possible, facilities with environmental compliance obligations should: Act responsibly under the circumstances in order to minimize the effects and duration of any noncompliance caused by COVID-19; Identify the specific nature and dates of the noncompliance; Identify how COVID-19 was the cause of the noncompliance, and the decisions and actions taken in response, including best efforts to comply and steps taken to come into compliance at the earliest opportunity; Return to compliance as soon as possible; and Document the information, action, or condition specified in the four bullets above. The memorandum goes on to state: “The EPA expects all regulated entities to continue to manage and operate their facilities in a manner that is safe and that protects the public and the environment. … Facilities should contact the appropriate implementing authority (EPA region, authorized state, or tribe) if facility operations impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic may create an acute risk or an imminent threat to human health or the environment.” “EPA does not expect to seek penalties for violations of routine compliance monitoring, integrity testing, sampling, laboratory analysis, training, and reporting or certification obligations in situations where the EPA agrees that COVID-19 was the cause of the noncompliance and the entity provides supporting documentation to the EPA upon request.” “If practicable, sectors mandated to function with certified operators should maintain normal certification and training practices. If not practicable due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the EPA believes that it is more important to keep experienced, trained operators on the job, even if a training or certification is missed.” “…EPA will accept a digital or other electronic signature. The mere inability to obtain a “wet” signature will not be considered a justification for failure to make a paper submission or certification.” AWIA COMPLIANCE REMINDER The American Water Infrastructure Act (AWIA) of 2018 certification deadline risk and resiliency assessment prepared by community water systems serving a population of 100,000 or more remains March 31. The EPA portal for certification can be accessed here . Questions regarding the EPA memorandum can be directed to Steve Via , AWWA’s director of federal relations. Queries related to America’s Water Infrastructure Act resiliency provisions should be directed to Kevin Morley , AWWA regulatory manager.