U.S. District Court reverses ruling in hexavalent chromium transport case The Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit reconsidered its prior opinion and agreed with the City of Vacaville, Calif., that the city’s movement of water containing hexavalent chromium does not constitute transportation of hazardous waste under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA). AWWA and other organizations filed briefs supporting the city’s position. In California River Watch v. City of Vacaville, the Court said, “transportation does not involve the incidental movement of hazardous waste but refers to the active movement of waste as part of the waste disposal process.” This case is important to water systems and municipalities because the initial district court opinion held that a Safe Drinking Water Act-compliant water system could reasonably be charged under RCRA for distributing water containing hexavalent chromium. The initial opinion had survived an initial appeals court review. Two amicus curiae briefs were filed supporting the city, one by the Association of California Water Agencies, Western Urban Water Coalition, Association of Metropolitan Water Agencies and AWWA, and the second by the National League of Cities and League of California Cities. DWSRF disadvantaged community definition reference released The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has released (Drinking Water State Revolving Fund) DWSRF Disadvantaged Community Definitions: A Reference for States . The document reports state practices as of the Fiscal Year 2021 Intended Use Plans and frames recent policy issues stemming from the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act. AWWA hopes to see a new national tracker for state criteria soon. Study explores high cost of hazardous substance designation The water sector continues to grapple with the potential costs associated with hazardous substance designation under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA). A study funded by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce provides useful insights into the potential implications. The study primarily reflects the cost of cleanup for potentially responsible parties (PRPs) at known contamination sites. The analysis is limited to two per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, perfluorooctanesulfonic acid (PFOS) and perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA). Clean-up at this subset of non-federal impacted sites would total more than $17.4 billion over 30 years. The analysis is premised on an investigation of existing National Priority List (NPL) sites (1,641), actual clean-up at 37 percent of those sites (614) and 200 new sites being added to the NPL over the next 10 years. As AWWA and other water associations have communicated to Congress, when PRPs face costs of this magnitude they will attempt to draw water systems in as fellow responsible parties. California proposes PFHxS notification and response levels Following the Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment’s recommendation , the drinking water program of the California Waterboard proposed notification and response levels for perfluorohexane sulfonic acid (PFHxS). The proposed notification level is 2 nanograms per liter and the proposed response level is 20 nanograms per liter. Notification levels are health-based advisory levels for chemicals in drinking water that lack maximum contaminant levels. The state recommends removal of drinking water sources from service when levels are above response levels. New funding available for drinking water research Applications are due Aug. 31 for interested universities and non-profit organizations that wish to compete for $8.5 million in new extramural research funding. EPA anticipates dividing these funds among four successful applicants. Project selection could occur very late this year or early next year. The anticipated duration of funded projects is three years or less. The request for applications , released June 28, focuses on disinfectants, disinfection by-products (DBPs), and opportunistic pathogens in drinking water distribution systems. There will be an informational webinar on July 20. EPA officials say the primary purposes of the solicitation are to 1) determine the occurrence and concentration of opportunistic pathogens in distribution systems and related parameters that may influence their growth or presence, and 2) to identify the occurrence and co-occurrence of unregulated DBPs in distribution systems including storage facilities. EPA announces funding availability for WIFIA, SWIFIA EPA has posted its announcement of funding availability for fiscal year 2022 funds for the Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (WIFIA) and the State Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (SWIFIA) programs, which together will provide $6.5 billion in seed money that will result in up to $13 billion in water infrastructure investment. The agency also announced it will accept letters of interest on a rolling basis beginning Sept. 6 instead of the traditional annual basis until all funds are expended. Water utilities interested in scheduling a one-on-one meeting with WIFIA program staff to explore this funding opportunity may e-mail email@example.com . Webinar addresses disaster assistance Infrastructure staff at EPA have scheduled a webinar for 1-3 p.m. ET on July 19 titled, “EPA-FEMA MOU Webinar: Disaster Response II.” It will describe how water systems can work with the wastewater and drinking water SRF programs and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to expedite financial assistance in the aftermath of a presidentially declared disaster using a memorandum of understanding between EPA and FEMA. Register online . Part I of this series is available for viewing online. LIHWAP hosting online information sessions Officials managing the Low Income Household Water Assistance Program (LIHWAP) will host a special online session for rural public and private water utilities at 3:30-5 p.m. ET on July 21. This event will provide information on LIHWAP implementation, review possible challenges and success stories, and provide an opportunity to share feedback on LIHWAP participation from the perspective of water utilities. Additionally, there will be a review of the LIHWAP Data Dashboard, an interactive data platform that provides information and updates on LIHWAP implementation. Registration is available online . After this event, LIHWAP officials will conduct additional online sessions at 3-4 p.m. ET on July 26 and noon-1 p.m. ET on July 29 to provide water utilities the opportunity to meet with staff to discuss questions or barriers to LIHWAP participation. Utilities are encouraged to coordinate with LIHWAP grant recipients in their area to attend office hours together. Each session is limited to 15 participants at a time, on a first-come, first-served basis. Registration for office hours will be sent in a separate correspondence to those registered for the LIHWAP National Water Utility Providers Meeting, at the conclusion of the meeting.