Two key EPA proposals for PFAS under review at OMB The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recently sent two proposals related to per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) to the White House’s Office of Management and Budget (OMB). These proposals may be revised based on OMB review and will subsequently be published for public comment. These proposals include the Fifth Unregulated Contaminant Monitoring Rule (UCMR 5) and the Interim Guidance for PFAS Waste Disposal and Destruction. Both proposals will impact water and wastewater systems. UCMR 5 will require applicable water systems across the country to monitor and report on specific substances suspected to be present in drinking water but do not have health-based standards. The proposal is expected to include 29 individual PFAS, based on a provision in the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2020 (NDAA 2020). Monitoring will be done using both EPA Method 537.1 and 533 and is expected to provide national occurrence data with lower reporting limits in comparison to those of UCMR 3. The second proposal is the Interim Guidance for PFAS Waste Disposal and Destruction. The publication of this guidance is another requirement from NDAA 2020 and will provide critical information for water and wastewater systems. Guidance materials will, in part, focus on management of water treatment products (spent filters, membranes, resins, granular carbon, waste from water treatment, and soils and biosolids). Waukesha gets WIFIA loan for water supply; Miami-Dade enters into third WIFIA loan EPA recently announced the issuance of a pair of loans for projects under the Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act ( WIFIA ) program. The City of Waukesha, Wis., is receiving a $137 million loan as part of its Great Lakes Water Supply Project . In addition, EPA announced it has approved a $235 million loan under WIFIA to Miami-Dade County in Florida for expansion and improvement of wastewater treatment facilities. The Waukesha project will include construction of infrastructure to obtain, store and distribute drinking water from Milwaukee Water Works to Waukesha customers. It will also provide for the pumps and pipes needed to return treated wastewater to Lake Michigan via the Root River. Project leaders say the WIFIA loan will save Waukesha about $35.9 million compared to typical bond financing, and project construction and operation will create nearly 1,000 jobs. The Wisconsin drinking water and wastewater state revolving loan fund program are providing co-financing. This is the third WIFIA loan Miami-Dade County has obtained in the past two years, meaning under this program, the county is borrowing $660 million total to help finance $1.3 billion in water infrastructure projects . Additional financing is coming from the Florida wastewater state revolving loan fund program. The Miami-Dade Water and Sewer Department estimates that using WIFIA financing for this project will save ratepayers more than $80 million over the course of the loan. Michigan announces $600 million settlement in Flint lead crisis The State of Michigan today announced a $600 million deal to settle civil cases filed by Flint residents. “What happened in Flint should have never happened, and financial compensation with this settlement is just one of the many ways we can continue to show our support for the City of Flint and its families,” Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer said in a statement . “We acknowledge that this settlement may not completely provide all that Flint needs, and that many will still feel justifiable frustration with a system and structure that at times is not adequate to fully address what has happened to people in Flint over the last six years. We hear and respect those voices and understand that healing Flint will take a long time, but our ongoing efforts and today’s settlement announcement are important steps in helping all of us move forward.” The settlement may prompt media inquiries about lead to utilities, and utilities should be prepared to talk about lead in their communities and steps they are taking to protect customers. AWWA has helpful resources at awwa.org/lead and in the AWWA Lead Communications toolkit . Webinar to explain Main Street construction loan program A group of U.S. federal agencies will host a free webinar at 2 p.m. ET Wednesday aimed at construction-related companies to provide an update on the Main Street Lending Program created in the CARES Act pandemic relief legislation earlier this year. Registration is free but required. The Main Street program will provide credit support to eligible small and medium-sized businesses to help create jobs, particularly in the construction, design and infrastructure sectors. Using established lenders, Main Street is to offer several types of five-year term loans supported by the U.S. Federal Reserve and Treasury, ranging in size from $250,000 to $300 million. Webinar hosts are the U.S. Departments of Commerce and Treasury, the Federal Reserve and the Small Business Administration (SBA). SBA staff will also provide an update to the Paycheck Protection Program. AWWA Board approves 2025 strategic plan The AWWA Board of Directors on Wednesday, Aug. 19, unanimously approved a new strategic plan that elevates the global importance of safe water and highlights the water sector’s need to strengthen public trust and advance diversity and inclusion. The 2025 Strategic Plan builds on the most recent 2016 plan by incorporating current external factors affecting the water sector and strengthening the Association’s abilities to meet the sector’s needs going forward. The plan was developed by a committee chaired by Past President David Rager. More details will be available in the Aug. 28 issue of AWWA Connections and CEO David LaFrance’s column in the September issue of Journal AWWA . Study cites costs of U.S. under-investing in water infrastructure If chronic underinvestment in the nation’s water infrastructure continues, the United States’ gross domestic product (GDP) will decline by almost $3 trillion by 2039. On the other hand, if the country closes the gap in those needed expenditures, GDP will increase by $4.5 trillion, according to an upcoming report by the Value of Water Campaign and the American Society of Civil Engineers . They will host a one-hour webinar at noon Wednesday to highlight findings from the report with a panel discussion and conversations with elected officials. Registration is available online . The report says fully addressing water infrastructure needs would improve the U.S. trade balance, create 800,000 jobs and boost disposable income in households. The report urges leaders at all levels of government to explore policy and funding solutions, and advises local, state and federal action to increase investment in water infrastructure.