EPA sends Lead and Copper Rule to OMB for review Officials at EPA sent the agency’s proposed revisions to the Lead and Copper Rule to the White House’s Office of Management and Budget (OMB) on June 6. After OMB completes its review, EPA will release the rule for public review and comment. The agency has not updated the rule in more than two decades and has struggled with this revision since 2011. EPA has been considering changes such as revising the action level for lead and copper and focusing on the replacement of lead service lines. AWWA staff and volunteers will review the draft rule and utilize tools recently developed through the Water Industry Technical Action Fund to evaluate the proposed rule. 2020 federal appropriations process begins in earnest Federal funding for water infrastructure programs appears to be headed in the right direction for fiscal year 2020. On June 19 the full House of Representatives will begin consideration of H.R. 3055, a package of four spending bills that includes funding for EPA and the infrastructure finance programs it administers. Last month, the House Appropriations Committee kicked off the 2020 appropriations process by approving its version of the Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies funding bill. The measure provides fully authorized funding of $1.3 billion for the drinking water state revolving loan fund program and $50 million for the Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act program, which got an additional $13 million over authorized levels last year. This House bill provides $9.5 billion in overall funding for EPA, a $672 million increase over last year. The Senate has not yet released its version of the FY 2020 Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies funding bill but based on conversations with staff, we expect robust funding in line with FY 2019 levels. Infrastructure continues to be a priority for Congress and the Trump Administration, and drinking water infrastructure will remain a high priority during the appropriations process. We expect the Senate to begin working through appropriations bills in late June, though the process could be held up by a failure to reach consensus on budget caps. Republicans are pushing for an increase in defense spending levels, and Democrats are unwilling to increase spending for defense without equal increases for domestic spending. Unless the two parties can reach an agreement on “parity,” the budget caps discussion could cause continued delay into the fall. AWWA releases new resource typing guidance AWWA’s new Water Sector Resource Typing Guidance directly supports the emergency response plan provisions in America’s Water Infrastructure Act (AWIA) of 2018 . The act requires utilities to include “plans and procedures that can be implemented, and identification of equipment that can be utilized, in the event of a malevolent act or natural hazard that threatens the ability of the community water system to deliver safe drinking water.” AWWA created the Utility Risk & Resilience Certificate Program to support AWIA compliance and provide a framework by which utilities can demonstrate due diligence. The new resource typing guidance was developed in collaboration with the Federal Emergency Management Agency and water sector experts based on lessons learned over the past 10 years of responses. Resource typing is an essential component of the National Incident Management System that strengthens the interoperability and effectiveness of mutual aid like the Water/Wastewater Agency Response Network. ACE panelists explain community risk and resilience Panel discussions during AWWA’s ACE19 in Denver this week provided participants with excellent insights on section 2013 of AWIA. EPA staff conveyed to participants that utilities should not wait until after the agency releases a baseline threat report in August to begin preparing risk and resilience assessments. The baseline threat report will provide information on malevolent threats of relevance to community water systems and is expected to be consistent with threats included in EPA’s Vulnerability Assessment Tool and the ANSI/AWWA J100: Risk and Resilience Management standard . Another key clarification is that while a utility may prepare a risk and resilience assessment and emergency response plan covering the whole system, the utility must certify that they are complete for each facility with a Public Water System Identification Number. Conservation grant application period open for Farm Bill funding The Natural Resources Conservation Service recently announced the opening of the application period for the Conservation Innovation Grants (CIG) program . This program is designed to support development and adoption of new, innovative agricultural practices. With source water protection being a substantial focus within the 2018 Farm Bill, CIG could foster innovative agricultural practices that benefit source waters. Contact Adam Carpenter in AWWA’s Government Affairs office for additional information about pursuing a CIG with local agricultural partners. The current funding opportunity is open to applications through July 30. EPA offering webinar on earthquake resilience EPA is presenting the second of two free webinars on earthquake resilience for drinking water and wastewater utilities on June 19 at 1 p.m. EDT. The one-hour session will focus on utility examples for mitigating earthquake impacts and includes a question-and-answer period. Registration is online . Follow federal issues in Journal-AWWA AWWA’s Government Affairs staff provides insights into federal issues with regular columns in Journal-AWWA . In recent months, these columns – under the title “DC Beat” – have covered topics such as the controversy over the defining of “Waters of the United States” , the Trump Administration and the concept of “Total Water Solutions” , changes to requirements for annual Consumer Confidence Reports , cybersecurity and the outlook for water issues after the November elections . Future columns will look at federal and state approaches to per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, perchlorate, water reuse, the Lead and Copper Rule and source water protection policy.