Fly-In delegates advocate for drinking water About 140 AWWA members from 37 states convened in Washington, D.C., Wednesday and Thursday to talk to their members of Congress about funding for drinking water programs, an exemption for water utilities from PFAS liability under Superfund, and improved cybersecurity for the water sector. This was first in-person Water Matters! Fly-In since 2019. Last year’s Fly-In was strictly an online event due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Delegates also joined other water associations in a joint reception Wednesday night to celebrate Water Week. AWWA teams with EPIC and others to develop CCR template The Environmental Policy Innovation Center (EPIC) has issued a consumer confidence report (CCR) template designed to help streamline the development of CCRs in a user-friendly format. This CCR template, associated instructions and Internet templates were developed with guidance from a steering committee representing utilities, states, consumer groups and several other organizations. AWWA co-funded the project through the Water Industry Technical Action Fund and held a seat on the steering committee. All those looking for new ideas for their CCRs, including methods to engage customers, are encouraged to read and make use of these materials. OMB issues Build America, Buy America guidance The White House Office of Management and Budget on April 18 issued guidance for Build America, Buy America (BABA) mandates enacted in the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA). The guidance covers all infrastructure funding contained in the act. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) will soon issue its own BABA guidance tailored to the water infrastructure programs it administers. The BABA requirements take effect May 14. The guidance also describes waiver procedures. EPA encouraging applications for finance center grants EPA staff will hold a webinar on Tuesday, May 3, 1-2 p.m. EDT, to describe a grant program for non-profit organizations, universities and similar entities to become designated “Environmental Finance Centers.” The IIJA provided $68 million for competitive grants for this effort. The aim is to provide technical support to underserved and disadvantaged communities to help access IIJA funds through the wastewater and drinking water state revolving funds. Drinking Water Week begins Sunday, May 1 AWWA has additional materials available to download through AWWA’s website for this year’s Drinking Water Week celebration, May 1-7. The theme is “There When You Need It.” The newest addition to the materials is an educational kids’ activity book, available in English and Spanish , which includes a crossword puzzle, word scramble, Mad Libs, Eye Spy, a maze and word find. Additionally, parts of the book can be used as coloring pages. Drinking Water Week materials can be used by members to engage with consumers, public officials and media about the reliability of drinking water and the professionals associated with delivering water from collection to consumption. Webinar to focus on expediting recovery funding EPA and the Council of Infrastructure Financing Authorities will hold a webinar on May 12 at 1 p.m. EDT to highlight how to expedite financial assistance for water and wastewater utilities in the aftermath of a presidentially declared disaster, using a memorandum of understanding between EPA and the Federal Emergency Management Agency. EPA takes several steps to address PFAS in environment On Thursday, EPA announced the release of several actions from the PFAS Strategic Roadmap the agency expects will bolster efforts to combat per-and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) pollution. These actions include expanding analytical monitoring capabilities, advancing pretreatment of PFAS in wastewater discharges and setting protective levels for aquatic life. Release of Draft Method 1621 for Adsorbable Organic Fluorine in Aqueous Matrices Currently EPA relies on Methods 537.1, 533 and 8327 for the analysis and measurement of PFAS in water. While each of these methods are capable of detecting PFAS at low parts per trillion levels, they are only capable of detecting specific, individual PFAS. EPA Method 1621, titled Screening Method for the Determination of Adsorbable Organic Fluorine (AOF) in Aqueous Matrices by Combustion Ion Chromatography (CIC) ,” provides an aggregate measurement of chemical substances that contain carbon-fluorine bonds, including PFAS. The method is still not finalized and will now go multi-laboratory validation this summer. Permitting Direction to Reduce PFAS in Wastewater Discharges PFAS has been associated with a variety of wastewater discharges, and EPA is currently working toward setting standards for industrial wastewaters with PFAS. Many of these wastewater streams are covered by National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permits. EPA has issued a memo titled “ Addressing PFAS Discharges in EPA-Issued NPDES Permits and Expectations Where EPA is the Pretreatment Control Authority ,” which provides instructions for monitoring provisions, analytical methods, the use of pollution prevention and best management practices to address PFAS discharges. EPA plans to issue similar guidance for state permitting authorities. Release of Draft Freshwater Aquatic Life Water Quality Criteria for PFOA/PFOS To protect aquatic life in the United States from short-term and long-term toxic effects of PFOA and PFOS, EPA has released draft recommended Aquatic Life Criteria . These criteria levels are intended to protect aquatic life from both acute and chronic duration exposures to each chemical and were set on an individual basis. EPA will accept comments on the criteria for the next 30 days following publication to the Federal Register .