AWWA urges EPA to remove TRI de minimis exemption for PFAS AWWA is urging the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to eliminate the applicability of the de minimis exemption for per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) on the Toxics Release Inventory (TRI). The de minimis exemption would effectively allow facilities to release PFAS without a reporting requirement provided that the concentration is below 0.1% (perfluorooctanesulfonic acid, PFOS) or 1% (all other PFAS). In May, EPA published a pre-publication version of the final rule to implement the requirements from the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year 2020. According to the final rule , EPA is adding 172 individual PFAS to the TRI with reporting thresholds of 100 pounds annually. In a formal letter to the agency last week, AWWA argued that this is not in alignment with the congressional intent of NDAA 2020 and should be corrected. EPA unveils discharge rule EPA unveiled the final Clean Water Act Section 401 Certification Rule on June 1, and the agency will host a webinar (registration required) on the rule June 17 from 2-3:15 p.m. ET. Section 401 of the Clean Water Act (CWA) requires that if a federally licensed or permitted project could result in a discharge into waters of the United States, that project must obtain a water quality certification to ensure the discharge complies with applicable water quality requirements. The goal of the rule is to facilitate consistent implementation of Section 401 and provide regulatory certainty in the federal licensing and permitting process. Two more WIFIA loans close EPA recently announced it had closed on two more loans under the Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (WIFIA) program. The first is a $326 million loan to Miami-Dade County in Florida to finance the design and construction of three wastewater treatment plants. The second is a $196 million loan to Inland Empire Utilities Agency in San Bernardino, Calif., to help that utility expand its wastewater treatment capacity . EPA estimated the WIFIA loan will save Miami-Dade $103 million compared to traditional financing and create more than 260 jobs. The agency estimated that Inland Empire will save $153 million compared to traditional financing and create 1,280 jobs. AWWA was the chief architect of the WIFIA program and worked over several years for its passage in Congress in 2014. AWWA seeks input on asset management practices The AWWA Asset Management Committee is conducting a short online survey about how drinking water and wastewater utilities carry out asset management practices. The results of this survey will help AWWA measure utility asset management practices, gauge progress made since a 2015 survey, develop insights into current practices and help AWWA understand what resources it needs to provide in this field. The deadline for completing the 20-minute survey is July 3. Sponsors encourage participation from those who participated in the 2015 survey and from those who did not. A report summarizing the findings will be made available at no charge, but answers will remain confidential and not be attributed to the person completing the survey or to his or her organization. More than 500 organizations completed the survey in 2015, and a report summarizing those results is available online . EPA offering sustainable finance webinar EPA’s Water Infrastructure and Resiliency Finance Center is offering a one-hour webinar on Monday at 12 p.m. ET on sustainable financial management planning for water utilities. Speakers will present key themes and case studies from utilities across the country about developing and implementing sustainable financing practices. Registration is available online . Ratepayers group assesses New Hampshire PFAS proposal The New England Ratepayers Association recently released an independent cost benefit analysis of maximum contaminant levels (MCLs) and ambient groundwater quality standards for PFAS as recently proposed by the New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services (NHDES). According to the study, the state assumes health benefits will range from $2.6 million to $8 million per year. Estimates of capital and operational costs for water supply and waste facilities were determined using NHDES’s data and amounted to $240 million in the next 10 years. A comparison of the highest estimated benefits and the lowest cost estimates shows that costs would outweigh benefits by almost 150 percent. Ultimately, the analysis notes that there is a high cost to “achieve proposed drinking water targets that may not afford any more protection than the higher targets,” of which almost every public water system already satisfies.