AWWA engagement on regulatory issues in full swing AWWA’s Water Utility Council, Government Affairs staff, and the many volunteers who support them have been hard at work developing a series of regulatory comments on a variety of issues of concern to the water sector. Written comments are an important aspect of the work AWWA does to assure that the agencies issuing the rules and other stakeholders are aware of the concerns and suggestions of AWWA and the broader water sector. Examples of recently submitted comments, which discuss both the merits and concerns around each proposed action by the EPA or another agency, are: • Transparency in Regulatory Science, • Recodification of Preexisting Rules for Waters of The United States, • Transparency and Consistency in Cost-Benefit Analysis, • Procedural provisions in National Environmental Policy Act, • Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry profile on Perfluoroalkyls, and • Developing a National Action Plan for Per- and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances. AWWA seeking your lead data to provide input on new rule AWWA continues to collect individual lead and copper compliance sample results, along with service line material information and some general information on system treatment, but needs more information from local water utilities. We will use this data to provide input as the EPA develops the revisions to the federal Lead and Copper Rule. Data from community water systems of all types and sizes is needed. To submit data: 1 .Download the data request form. 2. Fill out the general information question about your utility on the first tab. 3. Provide historical LCR data as instructed on the second tab, if possible, or in an alternate electronic format with all pertinent information. 4. Send in your completed forms or direct any questions to Devi Thirunarayanan at Arcadis. If you have any technical questions regarding this request, contact Thirunarayanan at the email address above. If you have questions regarding the overall AWWA project effort, contact Steve Via in AWWA Government Affairs. OSHA developing rule on water tower activities The Occupational Safety and Health Administration is developing a new standard covering work activities performed on telecommunication towers, particularly towers on water tanks and other structures. This rulemaking has the potential to impact worker safety standards for water systems staff and contractors that work on utility structures. The Small Business Administration this month began a Small Business Advocacy Review in cooperation with OSHA. This process is open to public comment. Comments should be submitted to docket OSHA-2014-0018 at www.regulations.gov. Additionally, AWWA is seeking volunteers from utilities serving fewer than 50,000 persons to be more directly involved in the SBAR process. Please contact email@example.com if you would like to participate. Interest in WIFIA loans grows The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency last week announced that the Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (WIFIA) program had received 62 letters of interest from entities interested in $9.1 billion in credit assistance. This is the second WIFIA selection round. In the first round, the EPA received 43 letters of interest and ultimately invited 12 entities to proceed to the formal application phase. This year, the WIFIA office received submittals from 56 borrowers, including nine repeat prospective borrowers from the Fiscal Year 2017 project selection round. The new projects are located in 26 states and territories. The EPA said 23 of the projects are for drinking water infrastructure, four are for desalination facilities, 27 are for wastewater projects, two for stormwater, two for water recycling, and four are combined projects. The agency announced in April the availability of Fiscal Year 2018 WIFIA funding for water infrastructure projects that could provide as much as $5.5 billion in loans, which could leverage more than $11 billion in water infrastructure projects. The WIFIA office plans to announce selected projects this fall. More information on this round of letters is available on the EPA’s WIFIA website. ‘Waters of the U.S.’ rule remains in flux In a major court ruling this week, a federal judge reinstated the Obama-era 2015 definition of the “Waters of the United States,” which says what waters are and are not covered under protections by the Clean Water Act. The ruling in South Carolina Coastal Conservation League et al v. Pruitt et al means that the EPA and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers are to start implementation of the 2015 definition. However, there are several complicating factors: it remains to be seen if the 2015 rule will truly go into effect, where it will go into effect and for how long. The EPA has already proposed officially reinstating the rules in effect prior to the 2015 rules and is expected to propose an entirely new set of rules soon. There are additional pending challenges in many states that may prevent this order from taking effect, and appeals to this ruling have already been filed, meaning that the ultimate impact, including what it means for utilities, remains to be seen. We’ll continue monitoring this ongoing issue. AWWA voices support for portions of EPA RMP rule In comments submitted on Thursday, AWWA voiced support for portions of the EPA’s proposed Risk Management Plan Amendment “reconsideration rule”, including the importance of coordination with local responders. AWWA’s comments also restated our opposition to many of provisions in the Amendments rule, and proposed for rescission, that the EPA failed to provide substantiated benefit for improving facility risk management. Additionally, last week the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia ruled that the EPA’s 20-month delay of the RMP amendments rule was “arbitrary and capricious.” In 2017, a series of petitions were filed seeking reconsideration of the rule, which was issued in the final days of the Obama Administration. Then-EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt delayed the effective date until February 2019 to allow the agency time to consider the merits of the petitions and reconsider the RMP rule. The EPA had stated that the delay would avoid “imposing the rule’s substantial compliance and implementation resource burden” while the outcome of the reconsideration was pending. The appellate court determined that EPA’s justification for the length of delay was not reasonably justified, since most of the compliance dates would not go into effect until after the 20-month delay. In addition, the agency violated statutory provisions that allow a rule to be stayed during a reconsideration for a period not to exceed three months per 42 U.S.C. § 7607(d)(7)(B). Therefore, the “promulgation of the Delay Rule is arbitrary and capricious.” AWWA awarded rural system assistance grant AWWA recently received a grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Rural Development Rural Utilities Services to provide training and technical assistance to personnel at small, low-income rural communities. The grant, which is in the amount of $856,566, will cover performance from Oct. 1 to Sept. 30, 2019. The personnel receiving the training will learn how to perform self-assessments to identify major issues confronting their systems, how to operate their systems more efficiently, how to access low-cost USDA loans to fund solutions to identified water system issues, and how to repay a portion of the loan using cash flow realized from system efficiency gains. AWWA is to deliver 66 face-to-face training workshops to 1,122 water systems. The association will also develop an eLearning course and distribute it to systems unable to attend the local workshops. AWWA staff facilitated membership in AWWA for certain USDA staff members, introducing their state engineers to AWWA standards, and explaining how those engineers can access Section programming. This is the association’s second grant of this nature from USDA, the first being for $299,799. Small systems who are interested in learning more about this training should contact their local Sections for details. Group issues revised Legionella standard The American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers has published a revised standard aimed at providing a more comprehensive approach to preventing the growth and spread of Legionella. ANSI/ASHRAE Standard 188-2018, Legionellosis: Risk Management for Building Water Systems establishes minimum legionellosis risk management requirements for building water systems. This update provides clarification of compliance requirements, as well as an update to enforceable, code-intended language to facilitate the adoption of the standard for code and regulatory purposes.