AWWA urges improvements to proposed LCR The proposed revisions to federal regulations for lead and copper represent a significant step forward in public health protection, but there are areas that need improvement, AWWA declared Thursday in submitting formal comments on the rule. The deadline for public comments on the proposal is Feb. 12. They may be submitted online to the Federal Register. AWWA issued a press release from CEO David LaFrance that highlights both progress in the Lead and Copper Rule (LCR) and some of AWWA’s recommendations for improvement. The comments pointed out that AWWA’s board adopted a statement calling for the removal of all lead service lines. However, AWWA warned that removal of all such lines will require collaboration and shared responsibility among utilities, property owners, manufacturers, state and federal agencies, financing authorities and others. AWWA expressed concern about proposed revisions that would make water utilities investigators in buildings outside of their control, particularly schools. The association holds that the best role for a water utility regarding school and childcare facilities is as a helpful technical partner and advisor. Other parts of AWWA’s comments cover corrosion control, public notification, sampling, monitoring, filters in the home, trigger levels and related issues. U.S. House schedules Feb. 11 hearing on proposed LCR The U.S. House Subcommittee on Environment and Climate Change will have a hearing Tuesday on the proposed revisions to the LCR by EPA. The hearing’s title gives a hint as to the stance some on the panel will take: “EPA’s Lead and Copper Proposal: Failing to Protect Public Health.” The hearing comes the day before public comments are due on the proposed revisions. Committee leaders announced the hearing the middle of this week and are still lining up witnesses to testify. AWWA comments on adding PFAS to Toxics Release Inventory AWWA submitted public comments Monday on several issues surrounding EPA’s advance notice of proposed rulemaking titled “Addition of Certain Per- and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances: Community Right-To-Know Toxic Chemical Release Reporting.” The proposed rulemaking would add select per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) to the Toxics Release Inventory (TRI) and require covered manufacturing and processing facilities to report environmental releases. EPA released a list of 160 PFAS on Jan. 16 that were immediately added to the TRI with a reporting threshold of 100 pounds per year in accordance with the National Defense Authorization Act for fiscal year 2020. Water and wastewater facilities are not covered facilities under the TRI. AWWA’s comments to EPA emphasized the following key points: The TRI is a critical tool for helping protect drinking water and its sources. A reporting threshold of 100 pounds per year or less is appropriate for PFAS, based on their known persistence and bioaccumulative nature and potential toxicity. PFAS that will be monitored under the fifth Unregulated Contaminant Monitoring Rule should be immediately included in the TRI to assist water system source monitoring and risk assessment strategies. PFAS groups should only be established based on a common risk profile. EPA should develop a sound rationale for establishing reporting thresholds for PFAS in the absence of necessary risk assessments. Guidance is needed to help covered facilities appropriately identify relevant precursor compounds that should be considered for reporting calculation purposes. U.S. states continue to address PFAS ahead of federal regulation The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources announced Jan. 22 that it plans to initiate a rulemaking process for PFAS, specifically perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) and perfluorooctanesulfonic acid (PFOS). With this announcement, Wisconsin joins 10 other states that have completed or initiated similar processes. According to the most recent update to AWWA’s PFAS Fact Sheet “ Summary of State Regulations to Protect Drinking Water ”, three states have effective maximum contaminant limits (MCLs), three others have proposed rulemaking to establish MCLs and five others have announced intent to initiate a rulemaking process. National Academy of Science hosts microplastics workshop The National Academy of Science hosted a workshop last week on microplastics in the environment. Titled “Emerging Technologies to Advance Research and Decisions on the Environmental Health Effects of Microplastics,” the workshop brought together researchers, public health experts and other stakeholders to discuss the available science on microplastics in the environment. Presentations included best practices for characterizing microplastics in samples, the effects of microplastics on ecosystems and human health and the significant research gap preventing adequate risk assessments. The workshop agenda, recordings and slideshows are on the NAS website . U.S. House passes environmental bills The U.S. House of Representatives passed environmental bills this week. While they don’t directly address drinking water issues, two involve sources of drinking water. H.R. 4031 , the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative Act, would reauthorize an existing program aimed at restoring water quality in the Great Lakes. It has a counterpart in the Senate, S. 2295 , but it has not moved. The House also passed H.R. 4044 , the Protect and Restore America’s Estuaries Act, which would reauthorize the National Estuary Program and amend it slightly to address climate change and public education efforts. There is a related bill in the Senate, S. 3171 . In addition, the House passed bills addressing the Chesapeake Bay , the Lake Pantchartrain Basin , the San Francisco Bay program and a Puget Sound recovery office .