AWWA webinar offers guidance on updated Lead and Copper Rule A free AWWA webinar about EPA’s proposed Lead and Copper Rule revisions and the implications for water systems is scheduled for Nov. 21. The proposed Long-Term Lead and Copper Rule, announced on Oct. 10, will require changes in current practice at all community and non-transient noncommunity water systems. The webinar will introduce the requirements from the point of view of a practitioner attempting to comply with the proposed rule. This includes changes in compliance metrics and associated performance as well as planning and implementation of water system treatment, distribution systems and public outreach activitie s. EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler has stated that he intends to finalize the rulemaking in 2020. AWWA provides regulatory update AWWA’s most recent Regulatory Overview from the Government Affairs office provides an overview of current federal activities affecting the drinking water community, plus insight on policy changes coming in the future. This update discusses the background and status of regulatory activities under the Safe Drinking Water Act, Toxic Substances Control Act, Clean Water Act and other statutes. It also provides information on recently passed or current major legislation in development, such as the National Defense Authorization Act – more on that below -- for fiscal year 2020. ‘Briefing on PFAS’ now available Looking to introduce or explain per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) in a simple way to consumers, public officials, media and other general audiences? A new AWWA Briefing on PFAS is now available to members. The 16-page report provides an overview of public and regulatory concerns regarding the health and environmental impacts of PFAS. The brief includes information about PFAS sources, removal and treatment options, cost estimates and AWWA’s guiding principles regarding potential PFAS regulation. The report is available on AWWA’s PFAS Resource page , along with related fact sheets, an infographic of how PFAS cycle through the environment, AWWA testimony to U.S. Congress regarding PFAS, and other resources. U.S. Senate ‘skinny’ defense bill would bypass PFAS issues U.S. Sen. James Inhofe (R-Okla), chair of the Senate Committee on Armed Services, this week introduced a bare bones national defense authorization (NDA) bill to maintain authorization of defense programs in case conferees from the House and Senate cannot reach agreement on a joint NDA bill for 2020. Separate NDAs passed by the House and Senate earlier this year, and both contain provisions to regulate PFAS but differ significantly in how they would handle the substances (see Oct. 4 Insider). Inhofe’s bill , termed a “skinny” bill in congressional parlance, has met a cool reception from House Democrats primarily because its strips out the PFAS provisions. The NDAs face other controversial issues as well, such as a proposed use of military construction funds for a U.S.-Mexico border wall. ELG plan promises little to advance understanding of PFAS EPA has published its 14th Effluent Guideline Plan , which reiterates that the agency has not yet accumulated enough information to develop wastewater guidelines for PFAS as individual compounds or as a group. Instead, EPA repeated that it will conduct a study to collect such data from airports, organic chemical manufacturers, paper and paperboard manufacturers and textiles and carpet manufacturers. The agency also plans to evaluate PFAS in wastewater as part of its ongoing efforts to update its Electrical and Electronic Components Effluent Guidelines . The plan does not identify new effluent limitations guidelines (ELGs) and standards or revisions. However, it reflec ts previous priorities including nutrient reductions. It also mentions that revisions to the ELGs for steam power are still in progress. AWWA is monitoring that regulation closely for its impacts on source water and disinfection byproducts. AWWA Councils report government affairs actions During this week’s annual Council Summit in Denver, leaders of AWWA’s six councils reported on a variety of activities affecting government affairs. Mary Gugliuzza, chair of the Public Affairs Council (PAC), described the soon-to-be-released guide, “Trending in an Instant: A Risk Communication Guide for Water Utilities.” The report, a joint effort between the PAC and the Water Utility Council (WUC) and funded in part by the Water Industry Technical Action Fund, will soon be available to water utilities. WUC chair Pat Kerr told members of the five other councils that the WUC had begun sifting through EPA’s proposed revisions to the Lead and Copper Rule to prepare for submitting formal comments on the draft. Kerr also repo rted on the WUC’s regulatory and legislative priorities for 2020. Top drinking water contaminant issues on that list were lead, Legionella and PFAS. Other top priorities included ongoing work to implement source water protection provisions of the most recent Farm Bill and assisting water systems in responding to the resiliency requirements in last year’s far-reaching water legislation, America’s Water Infrastructure Act . U.S. Congress progress slow on appropriations The Senate this week passed a package of appropriations bills which included funding for EPA and the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The bills received unanimous support in committee and bipartisan support on the Senate floor. However, the Senate bills differ from the House versions and a conference committee will need to find a compromise. Lawmakers are optimistic about the chances for a compromise, but there are yet to be major breakthroughs and the conversation is currently centered around terms of the next continuing resolution. The government is currently operating under a temporary extension of fiscal year 2019 funding levels through Nov. 21, though the 2020 fiscal year started Oct. 1. Congressional leadership prefers to finish the appropriations process by the end of the calendar year, presumably before a potent ial impeachment trial sends partisans to their corners and presidential election politics take over. Appropriators, however, do not believe December is realistic given the current state of negotiations and prefer an extension into February.