U.S. House considers PFAS amendments to defense bill This week the U.S. House of Representatives considered a number of amendments to the annual defense reauthorization bill, H.R. 2500 , that addressed per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) in several ways. In advance of the votes, AWWA issued several legislative advisories asking members to contact their House members with the water community’s concerns over some amendments. Foremost among these were two amendments with overlapping results. One would force the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to, within two years, declare PFAS compounds a hazardous substance under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act (CERCLA), also known as Superfund. The other would require EPA to add PFAS to the list of toxic pollutants under the Clean Water Act and then publish effluent and pretreatment standards. This listing would also result in PFAS compounds being declared hazardous substances under CERCLA. Because many drinking water and wastewater utilities have applied biosolids to farmlands or treatment byproducts to landfills or other repositories for years, they could be held liable for cleanup costs if PFAS were found hazardous, under those amendments. AWWA, the Association of Metropolitan Water Agencies, the National Association of Clean Water Agencies, the National Association of Water Companies and the Water Environment Federation sent a joint letter to all House members asking them to vote against these amendments. The grassroots work of AWWA members and the joint letter got the House’s attention, and staff for House members sponsoring those amendments reached out to staff at AWWA and the other water organizations. Congressional staff had believed that water utilities were already exempt from CERCLA. However, Association staff let them know that such an exemption was not in the law and only existed in an interpretative memo by EPA. It had not been tested in court. Final votes on the amendments and the final bill occurred after press time of the Insider. The final defense authorization act will be determined in a House-Senate conference committee. AWWA will send additional advisories if necessary on this. AWWA provides regulatory update to members AWWA’s most recent Regulatory Update provides an overview of current federal activities affecting the drinking water community and insight on policy changes coming in the future. This update discusses the background and status of regulatory activities under the Safe Drinking Water Act, Toxic Substances Control Act, Clean Water Act and other statutes. It also provides information on recently passed or current major legislation, such as the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2020. AWWA, energy sector urges 6 GHz meeting AWWA has cosigned a letter to U.S. Secretary of Energy Rick Perry asking that he hold a public meeting on the Federal Communication Commission’s (FCC) proposal to make the 6 GHz band open for unlicensed use. The band is currently reserved for licensed use only. Those using it include water utilities and energy entities. Cosigning the letter were the American Public Power Association, Edison Electric Institute, National Rural Electrical Cooperative, Nuclear Energy Institute and the Utilities Technology Council. The letter noted, “While the FCC knows the band is already crowded, it is moving forward nonetheless because it believes it can protect our systems from disruption through an automated protection system called Automated Frequency Coordination (AFC). Unfortunately, the FCC’s AFC system is unproven and untested, and even those who support the concept cannot guarantee it will prevent harmful interference consistently and reliably.” “Given the negative impacts this proposal could have on our nation’s energy and water systems, we believe the FCC must hear from other agencies that regulate this infrastructure.” EPA offering water quality modeling webinar The next webinar hosted by EPA’s water quality modeling workgroup will be July 31 at 1 p.m. EDT and will focus on a modeling tool developed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers being used on Florida lakes. The tool – known as BATHTUB – has been used for steady-state and nutrient balance calculations for lakes and reservoirs across the country. The webinar will present information on the model selection process, background information on the model application and examples of how Florida has used BATHTUB in total maximum daily load development. Advance registration is required for the two-hour webinar. AWWA’s PFAS webpage provides useful resources AWWA has developed a new page on its website focused on supporting members with issues surrounding per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS). The AWWA Resources on PFAS page provides a variety of useful resources, including updated technical fact sheets and a summary of state regulatory activity. These will be updated frequently to capture new developments. Relevant Journal—AWWA articles will be, along with other AWWA activities related to PFAS, such as a copy of AWWA’s testimony to the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works from May 22. EPA announces enforcement partnership policy EPA announced on Thursday a final policy aimed at enhancing partnerships with states in civil enforcement and compliance assurance work. The memorandum, from EPA’s Assistant Administrator for Enforcement and Compliance Assurance Susan Bodine, describes procedures and practices for coordination between EPA and states when carrying out shared responsibilities under environmental laws. “The final policy clarifies roles and provides a clear roadmap that EPA and our state partners can use to more effectively achieve our shared goal of increasing compliance with environmental regulations,” Bodine said. The memorandum is divided into three sections. The first details requirements for joint planning and regular communication between EPA and states to promote enhanced, shared accountability. The second section provides greater detail on EPA and state roles and responsibilities. The third section provides a process for the elevation and resolution of issues.