ACE21 All Virtual features ‘Fireside Chat’ with EPA A “Fireside Chat with EPA” is among the highlights at ACE21 All Virtual next month. During the interactive session, 9:30-10:15 a.m. MT, on Tuesday, June 15, AWWA CEO David LaFrance will sit down with Radhika Fox, Principal Deputy Assistant Administrator for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Office of Water. Fox will share EPA’s perspective on a variety of relevant water sector topics, including infrastructure and affordability. EPA will also be in the spotlight from 10:30-11:15 a.m. MT on Monday, June 14, for a session on “Federal Water Program Priorities” with Jennifer McLain, director of the Office of Ground Water and Drinking Water, and Andrew Sawyers, director the Office of Wastewater Management. You can find the full ACE21 All Virtual program and registration details here . AWWA comments on PFAS, Clean Water Act In comments on EPA’s PFAS Action Plan, AWWA identifies opportunities for the agency to advance efforts to reduce PFAS releases into ambient waters and drinking water sources. In particular, the comments emphasize the need for EPA to fully consider relevant data and information, using available data collection authorities under the Clean Water Act (CWA) to identify potential sources (instead of placing this burden on drinking water systems). In the PFAS Action Plan , EPA committed to reducing PFAS contamination under CWA, among other tasks. In March, EPA published an advance notice to propose rulemaking to establish effluent limitation guidelines and standards for PFAS discharges under CWA for select formulators and manufacturers. EPA announces roundtables regarding lead EPA announced the start of a series of community roundtables to hear about local efforts to manage lead in water. These roundtables kick off June 3, with the first being held in Pittsburgh, Pa. The agency also plans roundtables in Newark, N.J.; Washington, D.C.; Milwaukee, Wis.; Chicago, Ill.; Benton Harbor and Highland Park, Mich. (combined); Flint and Detroit, Mich. (combined); Malden, Mass.; Memphis, Tenn.; and Newburgh, N.Y. These live-streamed events will include participants from local public water utilities, community organizations, environmental groups and public officials. The roundtables are part of a series of outreach activities announced last month . AWWA voices concerns about U.S. drinking water bills AWWA – along with the Association of Metropolitan Water Agencies, the National Association of Water Companies and the National Rural Water Association – sent a letter to the U.S. House Committee on Energy and Commerce on Monday voicing concerns about 10 drinking water bills under consideration at a hearing this week. If passed, many of these bills would place new regulatory burdens on water utilities, adding significant operation and maintenance costs while limiting means of collection from delinquent ratepayers. The concerning provisions include requiring EPA to finalize a national primary drinking water regulation for PFAS under a legislative deadline, offering low-income water ratepayer assistance only to states that prohibit water service disconnections or interruptions, covering outstanding debts and arrearages of ratepayers only if a public water system refrains from pursuing collections for a period of five years, and requiring public water systems to install and maintain filters on all drinking water taps with lead service lines until they are replaced. You can read the full letter here . EPA expands treatability database for PFAS EPA has announced an expansion of the drinking water treatability database by adding 11 new PFAS compounds, bringing the total number of PFAS with treatment information in the database to 37. This update also adds 38 new scientific references to the existing PFAS entries and will help educate communities about PFAS in drinking water. This update also provides more information for communities as EPA works toward finalizing the Fifth Unregulated Contaminant Monitoring Rule (UCMR 5), which will require drinking water systems to monitor 29 individual PFAS. In particular, the update provides treatability data for seven additional PFAS covered by UCMR 5, bringing the total to 26 of the 29 compounds. Executive order revives U.S. flood standards process The Biden Administration has issued an executive order titled “Climate Related Financial Risk” ( Executive Order 14030 ) that prioritizes the evaluation and mitigation of climate-related financial risks to federal agency actions, including loan and grant programs. Although the order does not carry the force of law, many federal programs have considerable flexibility in how they prioritize funds and mitigate risks of default. An important part of implementing this executive order will be the redevelopment of a Federal Flood Risk Management Standard (FFRMS), which will likely require either additional freeboard above typical flood (inland and coastal) or site-specific modeling to identify mitigation measures for projects that are fully or partially federally funded to account for anticipated changes in flooding patterns in the future due to climate change. Assessing these impacts has become considerably more common in recent years. Although each agency (such as EPA for the Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act and the State Revolving Fund) will need to write implementing guidance and projects will need to consult with the relevant agencies to confirm, it is likely that industry standard climate assessments and appropriate mitigations will meet the FFRMS standards. EPA hosting M/DBP public engagements EPA hosted the first of a series of monthly public engagement meetings last week for potential revisions to drinking water rules for microbials and disinfection byproducts (M/DBPs). The first meeting focused on opportunistic pathogens, including Legionella , and secondary disinfectant residuals. The agency also collected stakeholder input on a series of questions for each topic . EPA has posted a schedule for the monthly meetings through November of this year, with the next coming June 24. It will focus on “Regulated and Unregulated Disinfection Byproducts and Consecutive Drinking Water Systems.” An agenda has not been released yet, but registration is currently open. Interested participants must register by June 22 .