New Congressional committee rosters firming up A new session of Congress brings a shuffling of committee assignments for members. This gets particularly interesting when party control over one body changes in an election, as happened in the House of Representatives. Following are the new rosters of interest to the drinking water community. Future Insider articles will list members of other relevant committees. House Committee on Energy and Commerce (broad jurisdiction over drinking water): Chair Frank Pallone, N.J.; Ranking Republican Greg Walden, Ore. House Subcommittee on Environment and Climate Change (more specific jurisdiction over drinking water): Democrats: Chair Paul Tonko, N.Y.; Yvette Clark, N.Y.; Scott Peters, Calif.; Nanette Barragan, Calif.; A. Donald McEachin, Va.; Lisa Blunt Rochester, Del.; Darren Soto, Fla.; Diana DeGette, Colo.; Jan Schakowsky, Ill.; Doris Matsui, Calif.; Jerry McNerney, Calif.; Raul Ruiz, Calif.; Debbie Dingell, Mich. Republicans: Ranking Member John Shimkus, Ill.; Cathy McMorris Rodgers, W.Va.; David McKinley, W.Va.; Bill Johnson, Ohio; Billy Long, Mo.; Bill Flores, Texas.; Markwayne Mullin, Okla.; Buddy Carter, Ga.; Jeff Duncan, S.C.; Greg Walden, Ore. Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works (jurisdiction over drinking water and wastewater): Chair John Barrasso, Wyo.; Ranking Democrat Thomas R. Carper, Del. Members of the Subcommittee on Fisheries, Water and Wildlife are still to be named. Federal shutdown affecting certain aspects of water program The partial shutdown of the federal government has not impacted the nation’s drinking water regulatory program to the degree that other parts of the government have experienced, mainly due to state primacy over water regulation. However, some important programs are being impacted. One state regulator noted, “We’re beginning to be impacted by the lack of access to data for the UCMR4 [Unregulated Contaminant Monitoring Rule 4]. We develop each system’s CCR [Consumer Confidence Report] for them and import the UCMR data into their table of detected contaminants. What data we have may not be complete and up-to-date when we import it into each system’s CCR.” Alan Roberson, executive director of the Association of State Drinking Water Administrators, noted that rollout of the federal management plan for per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances is being delayed, as well as rollout of the update to the Safe Drinking Water Information System (SDWIS), known as SDWIS Prime. Roberson is concerned that the impacts of the shutdown will “domino” over time. On the Clean Water Act side, “The impacts of the shutdown are beginning to increase on state water quality programs,” said Julia Anastasio, executive director and general counsel for the Association of Clean Water Administrators (ACWA). ACWA is hearing from its member states that the partial shutdown is impacting state programs in several ways, including problems with the Integrated Compliance Information System National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (ICIS-NPDES). “The malfunctioning of ICIS is impacting reasonable potential analysis and analysis of compliance schedules for NPDES permits, leaving permit writers unable to complete permits, compliance oversight activities including preparation for inspections,” she said. “The shutdown is also holding up regional office review of pending permits and water quality standards packages.” The shutdown is also impacting states that rely on the U.S. Geological Survey for analysis and data, and she expects these impacts to increase as the shutdown continues. AWIA source water protection provisions in effect Section 2018 of America’s Water Infrastructure Act of 2018 – now the law – provides utilities with important source water protection tools. The first change requires a state agency receiving notification of a spill to “promptly” notify any community water system whose source waters are affected by the release. Time is a critical variable in emergency response, especially when source waters are impacted. This revision enhances the ability of the state and drinking water systems to initiate emergency response action to mitigate impacts and protect public health. Utilities are encouraged to open a dialogue with their state agencies about how the process of notification will be implemented. The second change addresses the need for community water systems to assess potential threats from substances stored near source waters. Much of this information is reported annually to state and local officials under the Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act (EPCRA) in a Tier II report, which includes specific information about the amounts and locations of hazardous chemicals. In some states, utility requests for this information have been denied. AWIA amends EPCRA to grant community water systems access to Tier II reports when requested for locations within a delineated source water area. FCC proposes change to 6 GHz spectrum sharing The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is seeking comments on a proposal to allow unlicensed spectrum sharing in the 6 GHz band. Electric, gas and water utilities use the 6 GHz band for their communications networks that support day-to-day operations, reliability, emergency response, storm restoration and general situation awareness. The 6 GHz band provides utilities and other critical infrastructure industries with the high-speed, long-distance wireless communications required for these essential services. The FCC proposal seeks to make more unlicensed spectrum available for WiFi and other uses. This could threaten the safety and operational reliability of utility systems if not protected from interference. The Utilities Technology Council is seeking input from AWWA for comments on this proposed action, which are due Feb.15. Utilities that use this and other spectrum are encouraged to contact AWWA’s Kevin Morley to communicate the potential impact of the proposal on their continuity of operations. NIOSH releases review of CIPP protocols The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) has just issued a report with recommendations for protecting workers installing ultraviolet cured-in-place pipe (CIPP). The study looked at current installation practices to determine whether exposures to styrene were controlled. The report includes recommendations for worker safety, including proper ventilation of manholes; employee training on potential hazards associated with styrene exposure and reporting of related health symptoms; disposal of excess liner materials; and proper use of respirators by workers. The California Department of Public Health (CDPH) conducted a similar study, but it’s related to incidents of chemical vapor migration into buildings during CIPP installation. CDPH subsequently issued a safety alert with several recommendations for mitigating exposure and protecting public health, including air monitoring of sewer laterals when work is being performed near schools, day care facilities and other sensitive populations. Sector comments on EPA toxicity assessments AWWA and the National Association of Water Companies sent joint comments on Tuesday about EPA’s draft toxicity assessments for hexafluoropropylene oxide dimer acid and perfluorobutane sulfonic acid, often called GenX and PFBS. Once finalized the EPA-provided reference doses will provide the fundamental jumping-off point for calculating concentrations of concern in potable water. States and other interested experts will apply assumptions about relative source contribution and potential consumers’ weight and water consumption (e.g., adult, child or infant) to calculate a concentration of concern. The comments noted the need for additional information and coordination to help water systems communicate effectively with the public. The Association of State Drinking Water Administrators also commented , comparing the toxicity assessment with EPA-developed federal maximum contaminant levels. In his confirmation hearing testimony, Acting EPA Administrator Wheeler indicated that the agency had intended to release its Per- and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances (PFAS) Management Plan on January 21, but it’s delayed by the federal shutdown. At the state level, both the Conservation Law Foundation (CLF) and the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) are calling for states to adopt “treatment technique” regulations that target removal of all PFAS rather than an individual MCL approach. Petitions have been filed in Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Virginia by CLF and in Michigan by NRDC. Individual state processes for considering these petitions are occurring at their own pace. CDC releases training to address Legionella concerns The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), which is minimally impacted by the ongoing government shutdown, has issued an online training module, Preventing Legionnaires’ Disease: A Training on Legionella Water Management Programs . This training discusses Legionella and the factors that contribute to the risk of growth, how to analyze potential hazards (especially within larger buildings), control measures and how to apply them, and methods to evaluate the effectiveness of a management program. Utilities can suggest this comprehensive resource, as well as CDC’s other resources , to customers who need assistance managing Legionella concerns in their plumbing systems.