Congress passes large water bill before recess Before recessing for their final campaign efforts, Congress passed S. 3021, America’s Water Infrastructure Act , a bill boosting water infrastructure investment and making some significant changes to drinking water policy. We hear President Trump may sign it into law Monday. On the positive side, as cited in earlier Insiders, the bill reauthorizes and provides strong authorized funding for the Drinking Water State Revolving Loan Fund program and the Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act program. It also updates drinking water security and resiliency policy in a manner that dovetails nicely with AWWA’s own standard in that realm, AWWA J100-10 (R13) Risk and Resilience Management of Water and Wastewater Systems . What may be more challenging for some utilities is a new requirement that Consumer Confidence Reports be provided twice a year instead of the current once a year. The bill is vague on how often the underlying data must be updated. The bill does put it into law that CCRs may be provided electronically. Previously, this was a matter of interpretation by the U.S Environmental Protection Agency. The push for biannual CCRs came from congressional and public concerns over lead, Legionella , per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances and similar contaminants. AWWA and others pushed back on the biannual CCRs; however, given that there were bills introduced that would have mandated even quarterly CCRs, the biannual requirement was the eventual compromise the House produced. AWWA is preparing input to the EPA for the rollout of this new rule. EPA updates approved testing methods for contaminants The EPA has approved 100 additional methods for analyzing drinking water samples ( 83 FR 51636 ), including 89 from the 23rd edition of Standard Methods for the Examination of Water and Wastewater . Another important update is the long-sought change to the EPA Method 900 for gross alpha/beta. In 2014, AWWA provided THE EPA with substantive technical comments recommending changes to Method 900 that have been incorporated into this update. Given the challenges associated with the performance limitation of various analytical methods AWWA developed, Radionuclide Rule Compliance: Utility Guidance on Analytical Methods , to assist utilities with methods for gross alpha activity, radium-226 (226Ra), and radium-228 (228Ra). Feedback sought for CCL5 contaminants The EPA anticipates proposing the fifth Contaminant Candidate List in early 2020 and is once again seeking nominations from the public . If available budget allows, the EPA anticipates conducting a fresh review of primary sources such as those used in 2007 in support of CCL3 . AWWA will submit nominations; previous comments on CCLs have emphasized identifying a smaller, actionable list of contaminants for which there was a strong basis for targeting limited resources to support collecting the available data. If you have thoughts on priority CCL contaminants, please contact the AWWA Government Affairs office . EPA holding listening sessions on peak flows rule The EPA has kicked off a series of listening sessions as the agency collects data in preparation for development of a rule on managing peak flows at a wastewater treatment plants. The next listening session will be Wednesday in Lenexa, Kan. The agency will conduct an online listening session Oct. 30. Wet weather flows are a longstanding risk management conundrum for the EPA. ASDWA releases PFAS fact sheet The Association of State Drinking Water Administrators has distributed a new fact sheet titled, Per- and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances (PFAS) Laboratory Testing Primer for State Drinking Water Programs and Public Water Systems . It addresses the fundamentals of specifying an analytical method and sampling for PFAS. However, using a PFAS method that relies on isotope dilution is more complex than can be captured in a short fact sheet. Current market pricing will be dependent on the number of compounds tested, number of samples tested, and reporting limits. Don’t forget that prior to sampling a system should have a plan for how to communicate and react to PFAS monitoring data. ERG prepares report on SRFs for AWWA This summer a team lead by Carolyn Gillette of Eastern Research Group and Wendi Wilkes of ASDWA (who was an AWWA staff at the time of project) completed a report seeking to identify innovative ways state agencies are using drinking water state revolving loan fund programs. The team conducted a survey of drinking water utilities, interviewed state revolving loan fund program managers, and held an in-person expert meeting. The report also identifies impediments that some state programs are encountering either in federal or their own state policies. Advisory group develops recommendations to AWWA’s WUC In anticipation of the fall AWWA Water Utility Council meeting Oct. 25-26, the council’s Technical Advisory Group met earlier in the month to review priority work areas for AWWA’s policy and advocacy program. The recommendations to the council focus heavily on following through on supporting regulatory development and utility compliance in the wake of the passage of the America’s Water Infrastructure Act of 2018 ( S.3021 ). Congress passed S. 3021 this month (see article above). AWWA and its fellow water associations informed and tempered components of S.3021. Pittsburgh awarded lead service line replacement funding The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette is reporting that the Pennsylvania Infrastructure Investment Authority (Pennvest) is sending $49 million -- $13.7 million in grants and $35.4 million in loans – to the Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority to replace lead service lines on both public and private property. Those funds are expected to pay for service line replacement at 2,800 residences. Property owners must give written permission for the city to replace lines on privately owned land. The water authority is already replacing 2,100 lines out of the utility’s existing 2018 budget. Pittsburgh is under a state order to replace at least 7 percent of its lead service lines a year because of lead readings found in 2016. The city estimates that 12,500 of its 71,000 residential connections are lead. The city is also working to implement a corrosion control system that would bring lead test results down to a level where lead service line replacement would no longer be required.