U.S. EPA announces new PFAS health advisories The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released new and revised drinking water lifetime health advisories (HAs) for four per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS). Lifetime HAs are intended, with a margin of safety, to represent levels at which adverse health effects are not expected to occur over a lifetime of exposure. The values are: Final Lifetime Health Advisories Hexafluoropropylene oxide dimer acid (GenX) - 10 ng/L Perfluorobutanesulfonic acid (PFBS) - 2,000 ng/L Interim Lifetime Health Advisories Perfluorooctanesulfonic acid (PFOA) - 0.004 ng/L Perfluorooctanesulfonic acid (PFOS) - 0.020 ng/L The interim lifetime PFOA and PFOS HAs replace the previous 70 ng/L combined advisory value released in 2016. Approved analytical methods for PFOA and PFOS have minimum reporting levels (MRLs) of 4 ng/L. EPA recommendations accompanying the interim advisories recommended further investigation, public communication and evaluation of exposure reduction when PFOA and PFOS levels exceed the MRLs. AWWA’s Trending in an Instant : A Risk Communication Guide for Water Utilities provides tips and messages that may be helpful for systems facing risk communication challenges presented by the release of these HAs. Utility comments needed on chlorine challenges Recent force majeure notices issued by two manufacturers, Westlake and Olin, indicate that disruptions in production may impact suppliers' capacity to fulfill deliveries to water and wastewater systems. In addition, escalating prices for chlorine gas and sodium hypochlorite are compounding the challenges faced by utilities, as documented in a recent letter submitted to the U.S. Senate Environment and Public Works Committee. The letter communicated to Congress the supply chain challenges the sector has faced over the last 18 months associated with chlorine products and concern for policy actions under consideration that would further complicate the sector's ability to maintain continuity of service. EPA’s proposed rule to ban uses of asbestos in chlor-alkali production processes did not consider the impact such a ban on chlorine supplies available to water systems. The small number of chlor-alkali facilities affected produce almost 30 percent of the chlorine distributed to the U.S. water market. AWWA requests member utilities provide comments to Docket EPA-HQ-OPPT-2021-0057 by July 13, explaining (1) the critical use of chlorine, sodium hypochlorite, or other chlor-alkali products to your treatment process and regulatory compliance, (2) challenges, including price spikes you are experiencing with the current supply of these products, and (3) why EPA should not take actions that would further exacerbate the current chlorine supply challenges facing water utilities. AWWA joins amicus brief on 'Waters of US' AWWA joined a Supreme Court amicus (“friend of the court”) brief along with the National Association of Wetland Managers, the Association of State Floodplain Managers, and the American Planning Association, on the pending Sackett v EPA case regarding the definition of “Waters of the United States” (WOTUS). Among other challenges, the brief notes that the definition proposed by Sackett is too narrow and would result in loss of critical protections under the Clean Water Act to some waters which would no longer be considered “Waters of the United States.” Instead, the brief points to a process and considerations that use established practices to identify such waters and provide appropriate protection while balancing other needs. It is expected that the case will be heard in the fall and a ruling will come sometime after that. Although in some ways related, this process is separate from the ongoing regulatory process to update the definition of WOTUS. EPA hosting infrastructure act webinar EPA will host a webinar at 1-2 p.m. ET July 13 to describe how the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act , also called the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL), can help communities improve their water and wastewater infrastructure. Registration is available online . The webinar will cover topics such as: How state revolving fund program funds work How BIL funding can help communities address water infrastructure challenges What resources are available (current and upcoming) for information and technical assistance Where to go for more information and to stay in the loop The webinar will include an opportunity to submit questions. The presentation will be recorded, and EPA will post the recording and slides online after the webinar. Comments sought on proposed Buy America waiver EPA is seeking public comment until Wednesday on a proposed “public interest” waiver from Build America, Buy America (BABA) requirements for projects receiving assistance from the federal state revolving loan fund program, if engineering plans and specifications were submitted before May 14, the day BABA took effect. BABA was a provision included in the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act last November that extends domestic preference requirements to manufactured products and construction materials for federally supported infrastructure projects. In May, the agency sought comment on a proposed waiver for projects receiving support from the Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act program, if project design planning had been initiated before May 14. Opportunity arises on source water protection In a recent bulletin , the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) at the U.S. Department of Agriculture is directing its state offices to update priority source water protection areas – HUC12 watersheds or ground water aquifers where there are both source water protection needs and agricultural activity where conservation may be able to help address those needs. Each NRCS state office will make nominations for modifications in their state. Interested utilities should reach out to their NRCS state conservationist to better understand how their state’s process is set up and how to provide input. State offices must provide their input by Sept. 30, so engaging early is critical. EPA offering renewables workshop EPA is hosting upcoming workshops for water utilities and stakeholders to discuss the use of renewable energy at drinking water and wastewater utilities. Utilities interested may register for Renewable Energy at Water Utilities , which takes place Aug. 9-10, 12:30-3:30 p.m. ET each day. For additional information or questions, contact Lauren Wisniewski . Webinar to benefit public health labs The Association of Public Health Laboratories will host a free webinar 2-3 p.m. ET Wednesday titled, “So, You Want to Make Your Laboratory More Sustainable…” Public health laboratories make purchasing, behavioral, testing and other decisions every day that can inadvertently impact the public’s health, the environment and our global community, according to the association. This webinar will describe practical approaches that a laboratory can take to minimize unintended and indirect impacts. Registration is available online . AMWA announces new CEO The Association of Metropolitan Water Agencies (AMWA) announced on Monday that its board had selected Tom Dobbins as the next chief executive officer (CEO), replacing the now-retired Diane VanDe Hei. Dobbins has served as CEO of the Aluminum Association and the American Composites Manufacturers Association and led the government affairs program at the American Council of Engineering Companies. He also held senior roles on Capitol Hill and in the executive branch. AMWA represents the nation's largest publicly owned drinking water systems. AWWA and AMWA have worked cooperatively on a range of issues, from infrastructure finance to contaminant regulation.