EPA announces SRF allocations for FY2023 The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced state-by-state allotments of more than $6.5 billion in fiscal year 2023 funds for the d rinking water state revolving loan fund (SRF) program. Funds are for the traditional SRF program, emerging contaminants and lead service line replacement. The allotments were based on the most recent EPA drinking water infrastructure needs survey , which is conducted every four years. Congress had directed that this latest survey – the seventh by EPA – also collect information on lead service line replacement needs. EPA used the data collected on service line materials to determine state specific allotments for SRF lead service line replacement FY 2023 allotments. The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act of 2021 (IIJA) provided about $50 billion over five years for water infrastructure investment, almost all of it channeled through the SRF program. That funding includes $15 billion: $3 billion annually for lead service line replacement, plus $9 billion for emerging contaminants. However, AWWA estimates that at a minimum, it will cost more than $60 billion to replace remaining lead service lines nationwide, and the final cost will likely be much higher. The agency had previously announced wastewater SRF allotments . EPA has a new website to track the status of state IIJA funding awards. The website currently reflects Fiscal Year 2022 funds. BABA waiver allowed for minor ferrous components A public interest waiver will now allow manufacturers of iron and steel products to utilize a small portion (up to 5 percent by product material costs) of nondomestic or unknown origin iron and steel minor components without further need for a product-specific waiver. The waiver applies only to iron and steel products subject to the Build America, Buy America Act requirements and is specific to the iron and steel (ferrous) components of an otherwise domestically manufactured iron and steel goods. The waiver applies to only the ferrous minor components of a product made primarily of iron and steel. It is different from the previously issued de mininimis waiver . EPA will review this waiver every five years. EPA releases two PFAS health assessments The Integrated Risk Information System (IRIS) has published a final Toxicological Review of Perfluorohexanoic Acid (PFHxA) and Related Salts . RfDs of 5 x 10 -4 mg/kg-day were derived for both chronic and sub-chronic developmental endpoints based on oral exposure. EPA concluded there was not adequate information to assess carcinogenic potential for PFHxA by any route of exposure. EPA has not translated these values into levels of concern in drinking water. IRIS also released an external review draft of its Toxicological Review of Perfluorodecanoic Acid (PFDA) and Related Salts . The RfDs for PFDA of 4 x 10 -10 are also the same for both chronic and subchronic endpoints based on immunological and developmental health endpoints. There is an ongoing peer review. Comments are due by June 9 . EPA solicits data for PFAS hazardous substance listing EPA on April 13 issued an Advanced Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (ANPR) to collect data that will inform the potential inclusion of seven additional PFAS as hazardous substances under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation & Liability Act (CERCLA). This most recent agency action is in addition to the previously proposed designation of perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) and perfluorooctanesulfonic acid (PFOS) as hazardous substances. The seven PFAS highlighted in the ANPR include perfluorobutanesulfonic acid (PFBS), perfluorohexanesulfonic acid (PFHxS), perfluorononanoic acid (PFNA), hexafluoropropylene oxide dimer acid (HFPO-DA or GenX), perfluorobutanoic acid (PFBA), perfluorohexanoic acid (PFHxA) and perfluorodecanoic acid (PFDA). The request includes precursors of these seven PFAS, PFOA, and PFOS. EPA also solicits data to support listing categories of PFAS. A hazardous substance listing under CERCLA triggers multiple requirements, but of greatest consequence is the application of CERCLA liability provisions. Water sector associations are currently seeking an exemption from CERCLA liability for PFAS contamination. Requesting an exemption was a key issue for last month’s Water Matters! Fly-In . EPA announces $177 million to advance environmental justice EPA selected 17 environmental justice Thriving Communities Technical Assistance Centers (TCTACs) to help underserved communities access IIJA funding and other federal assistance programs. EPA’s April 13 press release includes a list of the 17 recipients. Each of the TCTACs will receive at least $10 million. These centers will provide training and assistance to build capacity for navigating federal grant application systems, grant proposal writing, and managing grant funding. Each will also provide guidance on community engagement, meeting facilitation, and translation and interpretation services for people who speak limited English. This funding is in addition to targeted infrastructure funding and environmental justice-oriented investments like the $100 million government-to-government program and $550 million grantmaking program . Latest WOTUS rule enjoined in 24 states Judge Daniel Hovland of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of North Dakota granted the States of West Virginia, North Dakota, Georgia, Iowa, Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, Florida, Indiana, Kansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, New Hampshire, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Utah, Virginia and Wyoming’s request for an injunction blocking implementation of the latest revised definition of “waters of the United States” (WOTUS). This decision is in addition to the existing injunction granted Idaho and Texas last month by the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas. In the states where these injunctions are in place, EPA and the Army Corp of Engineers are to define waters by pre-2015 WOTUS standards. The balance of states continues to use the more recent January 18, 2023 rule. WIFIA program ‘office hours’ set for potential borrowers EPA is hosting “office hours” to help prospective borrowers understand the loan application process and other elements of the Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (WIFIA) program. Dates and registration links include: Wednesday, May 10, at 3 p.m. (ET) Wednesday, June 14, at 3 p.m. (ET) Watch for urban forest funds notice this spring Keep an eye out this spring for a “Notice of Funding Opportunity” from the U.S. Forest Service for money available from its Urban and Community Forestry Program . This program received $1.5 billion in the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022 to support urban tree-planting, urban forest planning and management, and related activities, particularly in disadvantaged communities. Eligible recipients include local and state governments; agencies or governmental entities for U.S. territories, the District of Columbia; federally recognized tribes, Alaska native corporations or villages, and tribal organizations; nonprofit organizations; public and state-controlled institutions of higher education; and community-based organizations. The Urban and Community Forestry Program is a technical, financial, and educational assistance program aimed at ensuring a resilient and equitable tree canopy where more than 84 percent of Americans live.