U.S. Senate works on infrastructure bill The U.S. Senate this week unveiled a massive infrastructure bill that includes significant provisions for water. The bill, H.R. 3684 , contains two parts: authorizations for water, transportation and other infrastructures, and appropriations for new spending on specific infrastructures. The Senate began debating about 250 amendments to the bill. We expect to see only amendments with bipartisan support pass. While the total amount of funding is enormous, it is spread widely so no one infrastructure sector would see a massive influx of money. If the Senate does pass the bill, and that is expected, it will still have to go to the U.S. House of Representatives. And if that body makes any changes, the bill will go to a House-Senate conference. The authorization portion of the bill includes the exact text from S. 914 , the water infrastructure bill that the Senate passed on an 89-2 vote in late April (and described in earlier editions of AWWA’s Insider ). The new spending portion includes the following: $11.7 billion each for the drinking water and wastewater state revolving loan funds (SRF), to be spread out over fiscal years 2022-2026. Forty-nine percent of those funds must be made available as grants (via principal forgiveness or outright grants). $15 billion for lead service line replacement, via the drinking water SRF program, with 49% of those funds available with principal forgiveness or as grants. $4 billion to deal with per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) via the SRF, with all that money available with principal forgiveness or as grants. $5 billion in grants to help small or disadvantaged communities deal with emerging contaminants. White House calls for cybersecurity performance goals The White House issued a national security memorandum instructing the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency and the National Institute of Standards and Technology to establish baseline cybersecurity performance goals by Sept. 22, 2021, for all critical infrastructure sectors, including water and wastewater systems. This effort will also prepare sector-specific performance goals within one year as “clear guidance to owners and operators about cybersecurity practices.” The White House further detailed continued efforts of the Industrial Control Systems Cybersecurity Initiative, which is a voluntary, collaborative effort between the federal government and the critical infrastructure community to significantly improve the cybersecurity of these critical systems. Efforts to engage the electric power and pipeline sectors have been completed, and plans are underway to work with the water sector before year end. This may also include “an examination of whether additional legal authorities would be beneficial to enhancing the cybersecurity of critical infrastructure.” New EPA tool may help identify cyanobacterial blooms The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has recently made its Cyanobacterial Awareness Network (CyAN) web tool and Android application available to the general public. CyAN is designed to monitor satellite data and identify changes in water color that can indicate a cyanobacterial bloom. Although the agency only recently made the tool public, it has been used experimentally in research for several years. The tool currently works on 2,000 large lakes and reservoirs and may be expanded in the future. It may be particularly useful for utilities that are monitoring large, distant or complex reservoirs or sources, and are interested in an additional early warning tool for cyanobacterial blooms to complement any existing tools and strategies. Utilities are encouraged to review the tool and its associated documentation to identify whether it may be useful to them. Utilities are also reminded that AWWA has a number of resources on cyanobacteria and cyanotoxins available on its resource page . EPA, Corps to revise ‘Waters of the US’ EPA and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers published a notice Wednesday that they are seeking feedback on changes to the definition of “Waters of the United States” (WOTUS). This definition is foundational to the Clean Water Act, establishing where there is and is not federal jurisdiction and thus applicability of federal regulations. WOTUS has been an issue of several rulemakings and U.S. Supreme Court rulings spanning more than a decade. The current proposal intends to revoke the 2020 Navigable Waters Protection Rule issued under the Trump Administration, and return to the “pre-2015” rules in place prior to the Obama Administration’s Clean Water Rule , which was itself subject to a great deal of litigation and never fully went into effect. EPA and the Corps then intend to issue a new, “ durable definition ” to replace the previous rulemakings. A series of public meetings are to take place this month, and both rulemakings will be subject to notice and comment as they work their way through the regulatory process. RFPs out to develop materials to assist utilities communicating on lead and PFAS AWWA is seeking communication expertise to assist in providing guidance and outreach tools that a) help water utilities to leverage the issue of lead in drinking water to build and strengthen public trust and b) describe the best practices for communications anticipated or required under the revised Lead and Copper Rule. Click here to access and review the complete RFP for this project. Responses are due Aug. 11. AWWA and The Water Research Foundation are looking to develop informational products and tools to: promote effective communications between water and wastewater utilities and their customers based on established risk communication practices and guidance; develop ready-to-use materials to support drinking water utilities with positive observations of PFAS from the fifth Unregulated Contaminant Monitoring Rule sampling; and provide ready-to-use educational materials, based on known science, for the public regarding the risks of PFAS in water sources, tap water, biosolids applications and treatment process residuals. Click here to access and review the complete RFP for this project. Responses are due Aug. 12. Transformative Issues Virtual Symposium starts Aug. 12 AWWA’s Transformative Issues Virtual Symposium consists of three webinars about equity and access designed to help utilities succeed in an environment where businesses, including water utilities, are under increased scrutiny through an environmental, social and governance (ESG) risk lens. The three webinars are: Advancing Affordability and Access , Aug. 12 at 11 a.m. MT Deliver the Message Where it Matters: Strengthening Public Trust Through Targeted Communications , Aug. 13 at 11 a.m. MT Resilient Water Resources Management , Aug. 17 at 11 a.m. MT Each webinar costs $75 or $180 for all three. Participants receive a 20% discount for registering for the full, three-part series and can view recordings afterward. Registration still open for AWWA-EPA finance workshop Registration is still open for a virtual workshop Aug. 25-26 (a half-day session will be held each day) that will discuss ways in which the Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (WIFIA), the drinking water and wastewater SRF and other programs can work together to support U.S. utility water infrastructure financing. AWWA and EPA are co-sponsoring the workshop. Topics will include: Exploring financing options from stakeholders' perspectives, Co-financing best practices, Using WIFIA's flexibility to help get financing at the lowest possible costs, and Financing the future of water. The workshop will feature interactive sessions with finance experts from within and outside of the water sector. Registration is available online . GFOA offering webinar on relief fund reporting The Government Finance Officers Association (GFOA) is offering a free webinar providing an overview of the compliance and reporting guidance issued by the U.S. Department of Treasury on the Coronavirus State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds at 1 p.m. EDT Monday. The webinar will offer insights on the different reporting requirements recipients are responsible for based on population/allocation of the funds and a breakdown of each report. Registration is available online . Professors seeking utility input for machine-learning water demand project A group of professors is looking for water utility input on a project that employs machine learning to assess water demand risk. Professors Upmanu Lall from Columbia University, Casey Brown of University of Massachusetts-Amherst, Scott Steinschneider of Cornell University and Ken Kunkel of North Carolina State University are working on the software approach under the National Science Foundation’s Convergence Accelerator program. In order to build the algorithm, they need data and guidance from utilities. Data will be held confidential. See a short promo video or a longer demo video on this. Questions or interested in assisting? Contact Professor Lall at email@example.com .