Texas AWWA provides update on power crisis As Texas experiences unusually cold temperatures and electrical power losses, Texas AWWA Executive Director Mike Howe yesterday provided the following update. Texas has seen a week of extraordinarily cold weather along with freezing rain and snow that taxed our electrical power providers and the electric grid. The cascading effects of this prolonged weather event has resulted in power loss to millions of residents and water systems statewide. Texans have struggled with the record cold without heat and water as well as limited access to food supplies due to supply chain slowdowns. To the best of their ability, our utilities had prepared for this weather event by topping off tanks and making other preparations for cold weather. However, with the loss of electricity statewide, we watched utilities slowly exhaust their storage capacity and stop supplying water. I know all have seen the news reports. Those reports have been generally accurate. In an extended phone call (Wednesday) night with the directors of many of the larger utilities, it was evident they remained committed to protecting public health while preparing for a return to full operations as temperatures rise and power is restored. Next up for utilities will be repairing water lines as the thaw continues. It will be a slow process to get back to full operations, but conditions are improving for utilities and the customers they serve. After Action reports will help avoid similar outcomes in the future. AWWA, partners call for negotiated microbial/disinfection rule AWWA, the Association for Metropolitan Water Agencies, the Natural Resources Defense Council and Clean Water Action jointly called on the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to conduct a negotiated rulemaking for the next update of the federal microbial/disinfection by-products rule. In a consent agreement signed last year with Waterkeeper Alliance, EPA agreed to propose revisions to existing drinking water regulations by July 2024. The four water organizations agreed in a Feb. 9 letter that protecting public health while balancing associated risks was best addressed through a negotiated rulemaking. CDC releases new guide for controlling Legionella The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released a new guide for controlling Legionella in commonly implicated sources of Legionnaires’ disease outbreaks. The guide “ Toolkit for Controlling Legionella in Common Sources of Exposure ” addresses potable water systems specifically. Notably for potable water, CDC says that samples having less than 1.0 cfu/mL means the system is well controlled if other parts of the water management plan are working fine. This latest guide complements earlier CDC guidance: “ Toolkit: Developing a Water Management Program to Reduce Legionella Growth and Spread in Buildings ” and “ Guidance for Reopening Buildings After Prolonged Shutdown or Reduced Operation .” Ranking U.S. senator asks PFAS rule not be slowed U.S. Sen. Shelley Moore Capito , R-W. Va., ranking Republican on the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works, has written the White House urging that a current freeze on regulations not slow down regulation of perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) and perfluorooctanesulfonic acid (PFOS). On Jan. 20, the day President Joe Biden was sworn into office, the White House issued a memo freezing new or pending federal regulations until the administration has a chance to review them. EPA had issued a determination to regulate PFOA and PFOS on Jan. 15. The letter is significant in that a leading Republican on a committee with jurisdiction over drinking water is urging that new regulations be issued. U.S. Congress focusing on water utility hack The recent hacking of a drinking water utility in Florida has attracted the focus not only of law enforcement, but also members of Congress. U.S. Sen. Mark Warner, D-Va., chair of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, formally requested information from the Federal Bureau of Investigation and EPA on the incident. More specifically, Warner is seeking a progress report on the bureau’s investigation. An assessment of how threat information is being shared with the whole water sector. In the House of Representatives, six Republican members of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce have written EPA Acting Administrator Jane Nishida asking for information about the agency’s role in the investigation, planned follow-up actions and what measures Congress can take to help EPA better prepare communities for such a situation. Visit www.awwa.org/risk for more information on girding your utility against cyberattacks. Fluoride health effects study criticized The National Academies of Science, Engineering, and Medicine (NASEM) has released a review critical of key aspects of a draft National Toxicology Program’s (NTP’s) study of fluoride exposure. In its review of the revised Draft NTP Monograph: Systematic Review of Fluoride Exposure and Neurodevelopmental and Cognitive Health Effects (2020) , NASEM concluded that “fluoride is presumed to be a cognitive neurodevelopmental hazard to humans.” The NASEM review committee did not accept the NTP finding that “the monograph falls short of providing a clear and convincing argument that supports its assessment.” The NTP is a part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and is charged with evaluating agents of public health concern by applying the tools of modern toxicology and molecular biology. EPA offering webinar on American iron, steel requirements EPA is offering a webinar at 3:30-4 p.m. ET March 2 on an aspect of the American iron and steel (AIS) requirements in water infrastructure loan programs. This session, “AIS Compliance Roles and Responsibilities,” will feature a 15-minute presentation and 15 minutes of questions and answers. Registration is available online . Additional information is also available from the state revolving loan fund program’s AIS team .