U.S. House passes water legislation; some provisions concerning The U.S. House of Representatives passed a large legislative package on July 1 containing water infrastructure and water policy measures. Some were welcomed by AWWA and other water sector organizations, while others are causing strong concerns. The vote on the INVEST in America Act or H.R. 3684 , a combination of water, wastewater and surface transportation legislation, was largely partisan – 221-201. Here are highlights from the water portions: Reauthorization of the drinking water state revolving fund (SRF) program at $4.14 billion in FY2022, $4.8 billion in FY2023 and $5.5 billion in FY2024-2031 (or $53 billion total) Reauthorization of the wastewater SRF at $40 billion over that time frame Authorization of $45 billion to replace lead service lines Authorization of $5 billion to help communities with per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) remediation The provisions causing concern include the following: Cost-benefit analysis would be removed from the process for determining regulations for contaminants in drinking water The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) would be required to set a maximum contaminant level for PFOA and PFAS, chromium-6, microcystin toxin and 1,4dioxane within two years of enactment Creation of a new program to assist low-income customers in paying their water bills with $8 billion in authorized spending. However, Only municipally-owned water systems would be eligible to participate If a utility accepts funding, for the next five years, it would be required to reconnect customers whose service had been cut off for nonpayment EPA would be required to create a nationwide database on water main breaks and provide that information online (lines six inches in diameter or larger would be included) AWWA, in conjunction with a number of other organizations representing water systems and local governments, sent a letter to every House office before the vote asking that members vote for an amendment offered to strip the cost-benefit provision out of H.R. 3684. However, that amendment was included in a bloc of amendments that was defeated 226-180. Now leadership of the House and Senate must appoint conferees from each body to meet to produce a single bill. AWWA’s government affairs office is preparing a grassroots mobilization effort to ask conferees to prevent certain provisions in the House bill from becoming part of the final bill. Nominees sought for PFAS health effects advisory board EPA has published a request for nominations for the Scientific Advisory Board to form a panel to review draft agency documents being developed to support EPA’s National Primary Drinking Water Rulemaking for PFAS. These draft documents are expected to describe EPA’s proposed health effect data approach for developing Maximum Contaminant Level Goals (MCLG’s) for both perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) and perfluorooctanesulfonic acid (PFOS). These documents will describe relevant research of interest, targeted health endpoints, and potential approaches to estimating health risks associated with PFAS mixtures. AWWA is seeking input on potential nominations, which are due July 21. AWWA publishes quarterly government affairs overview AWWA’s most recent Government Affairs Overview from its Washington, D.C., office provides an update of current federal activities affecting the drinking water community, plus insights on upcoming policy changes. This latest update highlights recently passed or current major legislation in development. It also provides information on the background and status of regulatory activities under the Toxic Substances Control Act, Clean Water Act and the Safe Drinking Water Act, including the recently proposed drinking water regulatory determinations. Webinar to focus on municipal-ag partnerships EPA’s Water Finance Center will host a July 15 webinar at 3 p.m. EDT, featuring three examples of how municipalities have partnered with agricultural interests to better protect watersheds. Speakers will include representatives from the City of Boise, Ohio’s Miami Conservancy District and the Kansas Center for Agricultural Resources and the Environment. “Watersheds can benefit when municipal water treatment plants invest in conservation practices on nearby farms,” according to the agency in a program announcement. “By drawing on an integrated watershed approach, these partnerships unlock additional alternatives to address watershed health stressors and bring a broader array of watershed participants into the mix to craft solutions and take action for watershed health improvement.” Advance registration is recommended as space is limited.