New date set for AWWA Fly-In – March 22-23 The dates for this year’s AWWA Water Matters! Fly-In are being pushed back one week to March 22-23. The move comes after leadership in the U.S. House of Representatives issued its calendar making the original Fly-In dates a “district work period,” meaning House members will be back in their home districts that week. Instructions for registration and reserving a hotel room will be sent to AWWA Section leaders soon. The Fly-In is an annual grassroots lobbying event in the spring in which AWWA delegates selected by the leadership of their Sections come to Washington, D.C., to discuss drinking water issues with their own members of U.S. Congress. Section leaders are asked to select delegates to keep congressional meetings organized. AWWA selects Great Lakes leader as next president-elect AWWA’s Board of Directors on Saturday selected Cheryl Porter, the chief operating officer of water and field services at Great Lakes Water Authority in Detroit, as the Association’s next president-elect. Porter will become the first African American to serve as president of the Association. She begins her term as president-elect in June at the conclusion of AWWA’s Annual Conference & Exposition (ACE23). Her term as president begins in June 2024 following that of current president-elect Pat Kerr. The Board also selected four vice presidents and two directors-at-large during its annual winter meeting in Santa Fe, New Mexico. See AWWA’s press release for details. Drinking water remains U.S. EPA enforcement target The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is soliciting public comment on its National Enforcement and Compliance Initiatives for federal fiscal years 2024-2027. The current “National Compliance Initiatives” selected during the prior administration included a focus on community water systems complying with Safe Drinking Water Act regulations. That focus continues with a particular emphasis on the Lead and Copper Rule, Stage 2 Disinfection Byproduct Rule and Groundwater Rule. New Water 2050 Technology Think Tank Report released The second of five Water 2050 Think Tank reports is available at awwa.org . The report captures insights from the Dec. 5-7, 2022, Think Tank on Technology at the Computer History Museum in Mountain View, California. Participants included highly respected voices from the water and wastewater utility, manufacturing and consulting community, innovation incubators, Silicon Valley thought leaders, privacy and cybersecurity experts, regulators and academics, CEOs and an agriculture research hydrologist. The third and next Water 2050 Think Tank, focusing on economics, is Jan. 23-25 in New York City. Insights from each think tank and other Water 2050 contributions will be included in a final report to be published this summer. EPA issues environmental justice guide EPA has spelled out its available tools to achieve the Biden Administration’s environmental justice priorities in a new enforcement guidance document. That document re-envisions the use of Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA) Section 1431 , which addresses imminent and substantial endangerment. The Section 1431 discussion builds upon the agency’s post-Flint refresh of agency enforcement guidance. This new document elevates environmental justice, and in particular cumulative impacts , as an agency enforcement priority. It also highlights the use of Civil Rights Act Title VI requirements applying to entities that receive federal funds. The Jan. 6 edition of Insiders noted the continued advocacy that EPA emphasize Title VI in the distribution of Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act funding. AWWA updates ‘Government Affairs Overview’ AWWA’s most recent Government Affairs Overview provides a year-end summary of ongoing federal activities affecting the water community. This latest update highlights recent regulatory and administrative actions. It also describes the history and status of regulatory activities under the Toxic Substances Control Act, Clean Water Act and the Safe Drinking Water Act, including the anticipated drinking water regulations. EPA extends deadline for CWA needs survey EPA has extended the Clean Watersheds Needs Survey deadline to April 28. If you are unfamiliar with this Clean Water Act activity, contact your CWNS State Coordinator for questions about survey implementation in your state. The information collected through this periodic survey is used to convey to U.S. Congress the infrastructure needed to meet the nation’s Clean Water Act objectives. BABA waiver proposed for minor ferrous parts EPA is seeking comment on a proposed public interest waiver from Build America, Buy America (BABA) requirements for minor ferrous components in projects receiving federal assistance. Public comments are due Feb. 3 to EPA_BABA_Waiver@epa.gov for the proposed Minor (Ferrous) Components of Iron and Steel Products General Applicability Waiver . If approved, the proposed waiver would allow up to 5% of the total material cost of iron and steel products covered by BABA to include non-domestically produced miscellaneous minor iron or steel components without further need for a product-specific waiver. The agency notes, “This waiver for manufacturers differs from EPA’s De Minimis waiver, which may allow assistance recipients to waive entire products that in total are no more than a total of five percent of a total project cost to reduce the administrative burden for assistance recipients. “This Minor (Ferrous) Components of Iron and Steel Products waiver will reduce administrative burden on manufacturers that seek to ensure that their iron and steel products comply with Build America, Buy America, but may have small iron or steel components within their product that are non-domestic or of unknown origin.” BABA was included in the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act of 2021, which provides about $50 billion in funding for water infrastructure projects over five years. EPA plans to reject waste PVC petition EPA is proposing to deny a Center for Biological Diversity (CBD) petition to declare waste polyvinyl chloride (PVC) a hazardous waste under the federal Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA). The petition was filed in July 2014, late in the Obama Administration’s second term. CBD sought inclusion of waste PVC in the RCRA “F-List” alongside halogenated solvent wastes and sludges from electroplating. The Federal Register notice states that the CBD petition did not demonstrate that the requested action would have a meaningful impact. EPA notes that existing controls protect against concerns reflected in the petition. The agency cites its work program priorities relative to plastics pollution, which include microplastics , as part of its reasoning for why the petition should be denied. Comments are due Feb. 13. Water groups concerned about agency cyber policy Drinking water associations joined efforts this week in a meeting with the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) to recommend that OMB reject an EPA memorandum on cybersecurity. Instead, the associations urged EPA to pursue mechanisms to increase technical assistance on cybersecurity and to work with the water sector to develop a better strategy for oversight than including cybersecurity in sanitary surveys. The Dec. 23 Insider noted that EPA had submitted its “Memorandum to State Drinking Water Administrators on Public Water System Cybersecurity” to OMB. The Association of State Drinking Water Administrators (ASDWA) also met with OMB officials. In previous recommendations to EPA, ASDWA has opposed oversight using sanitary surveys. AWWA also sought the assistance of the Local Government Advisory Committee, the federal advisory committee to the EPA administrator, noting that cybersecurity is too important and too complex for use in such an inappropriate tool as a sanitary survey. Health Canada updates corrosion control guidance Comments are due Feb. 15 for Health Canada’s newest draft guidance regarding lead for water systems. This guidance is intended to complement the Technical Document for the Guidelines for Canadian Drinking Water Quality for lead. This new guidance titled, “ Guidance on Sampling and Mitigation Measures for Controlling Corrosion ,” seeks to integrate lead service line replacement, sentinel sample sites, service line profiling samples, and other aspects of practice to inform compliance with a maximum acceptable concentration (MAC) of 5 µg/L. The guidance is premised on an initial monitoring framework of at least 20 random daytime samples per year in each water system supply zone (i.e., service areas of 50,000 persons or less) where the sample pool includes sentinel sample sites. In the new draft guidance, a 90th percentile concentration greater than 5 µg/L in initial monitoring within a zone would trigger flushed service line profiles at 10% of sites focusing on those sites with higher lead values. Subsequent evaluation steps include public outreach, determining if there is a corrosion control issue specific to that zone, and evaluation of corrosion control as necessary to achieve the guideline value. WOTUS definition effective March 20 EPA released its latest definition of “waters of the United States” under the Clean Water Act during the holiday season. With publication in the Federal Register , the change has an effective date of March 20. The clock is now ticking for those who plan to contest the new definition in court. Sen. Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.Va., has indicated she would introduce a Congressional Review Act (CRA) resolution to overturn the rule, though it would require passage in both houses of Congress and a signature by the president before it could become law. The agency’s “Unified Agenda” continues to include a second rulemaking process for this definition, but it is not clear if EPA believes the current rule represents the Biden Administration’s final durable definition or if additional rulemaking is still planned. Additionally, a Supreme Court case is pending, the results of which may further complicate implementation. New GHG evaluation methodology published The U.S. White House Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) has published interim guidance on assessing the scope of greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) for federal projects undergoing reviews through the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). This guidance, which goes into effect immediately, may be changed when finalized. It does not change the legal requirements of NEPA reviews or when such reviews apply, but it provides guidance saying that CEQ will expect additional analysis and evaluation of mitigation of GHG emissions from federal projects, including evaluating cumulative effects. This guidance is the latest in a series of such documents over the past few years that have either increased or decreased the emphasis of evaluating and mitigating GHG emissions. Water-related projects undertaken by federal agencies or that receive federal funding or federal permits may be subject to NEPA review.