AWWA talks PFAS with Congressional Budget Office In response to a request by the Congressional Budget Office (CBO), AWWA has provided a briefing on the implications to drinking water of S. 1507 – PFAS Disclosure Act and the similar provision included in H.R. 2500 – National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2020 relating to per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) in drinking water. If passed, the legislation would require EPA to: (i) establish a national primary drinking water regulation for perfluorooctanesulfonic acid (PFOS) and perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA), (ii) require monitoring of additional PFAS under the fifth Unregulated Contaminant Monitoring Rule, and (iii) publish additional lifetime drinking water health advisories for PFAS with toxicity values. In the meeting, AWWA staff provided an overview of the impacts of EPA promulgating a drinking water standard, including the administrative effort for updating training, monitoring and reporting, in addition to the potential impact for systems that may need to install treatment systems to comply with potential drinking water regulations. Since CBO had requested that AWWA staff provide a national estimate of the costs of drinking water treatment to remove PFAS, an estimate was prepared and provided to serve as a basis for a methodology and to help CBO understand the scale of the potential impact. AWWA has long emphasized that there is a significant knowledge gap about PFAS for EPA to effectively promulgate a new drinking water regulation that is protective of public health. In the meeting, AWWA staff stressed the importance of significant investment in research for EPA to better understand nuances of PFAS such as human toxicology, occurrence, reliable treatment and safe disposal method. Water groups send joint PFAS letter to Hill AWWA, the Association of Metropolitan Water Agencies, the National Association of Water Companies and the National Rural Water Association on Thursday sent a joint letter to members of Congress working on defense legislation asking that a number of concerns related to PFAS be addressed. The water groups told Congress the following: • Liability for PFAS clean-up should rest with PFAS producers; • Congress should not mandate that EPA set a drinking water standard for PFAS as a group or class; • Congress should not direct EPA to prepare drinking water health advisories for PFAS under the Safe Drinking Water Act; • Congress must provide EPA with the necessary resources to properly consider future PFAS regulations; and • Congress should ensure that EPA utilizes the Toxic Substances Control Act to understand the risk posed by PFAS and control that risk before they are introduced into commerce. Members of the House and Senate armed services committees are trying to work out a single defense authorization act. A number of PFAS-related provisions have been introduced into House and Senate bills, and differences between the two bills must be worked out for the legislation to be enacted. House bill would ratchet down lead regs After EPA releases its revised Lead and Copper Rule this year, watch to see what happens in Congress with H.R. 3677 and S. 2086 , the National Opportunity for Lead Exposure Accountability and Deterrence Act by Rep. Dan Kildee (D-Mich.) and by Sen. Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.) respectively. Some in Congress are already anticipating that the new regulation will not go as far as they would like. The bill would ratchet down lead action levels, increase reporting requirements, require utility monitoring of schools and day care centers, define buildings with pregnant mothers or children as high-risk buildings and make a water utility responsible for documenting that a homeowner does not want his or her address released. AWWA staff has met with congressional staff to point out practical problems with this legislation, such as the utility finding out which buildings or residences have pregnant mothers or children, among other concerns. However, congressional staff appeared unmoved. There are no cosponsors to the House bill and just one for the Senate bill, but that could always change. Reclamation bureau awards desal grants The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation has awarded $5.1 million in grants to help develop improved and less expensive ways to desalinate and treat impaired waters . Most of the 30 projects involved are at universities, but a few are at water systems. Five of the awards went to pilot-scale projects to test novel processes at sufficient scale to determine the technical, practical and economic viability of those processes. Projects are looking at modeling the testing of new materials such as nanomaterials and improvements of known technologies, such as distillation and electrodialysis. Still time for NRCS source water funding nominations As first mentioned in the June 28 edition of the Insider, the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) is considering adding new source water protection areas, where it will focus technical assistance and funding through the National Water Quality Initiative (NWQI). This is the first year that the source water protection area is a permanent feature of the program, and utility participation with NRCS to help identify source water needs is essential. This NRCS bulletin provides information on the initiative. To express interest, utilities should contact their state conservationist as soon as possible, as the state conservationists must make their nominations by September 20.