AWWA supports ELG efforts on PFAS AWWA told the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) that the Association supports initiation of Effluent Limitation Guidelines (ELG) to address per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) in certain regulatory efforts. The comments were submitted Thursday and are directed at the federal Preliminary Effluent Guidelines Program Plan 15 . The program plan is updated every other year and lays out the ELG program’s plan for potential rulemakings and supporting research studies on wastewater discharges. As part of Program Plan 15, EPA has confirmed a rulemaking effort for PFAS for the organic chemicals, plastics and synthetic fibers (OCPSF) point source category and announced the initiation of rulemaking to revise the ELG for the metal finishers point source category to address PFAS. The Program Plan also discussed the findings of a multi-industry PFAS study. Beyond PFAS, the plan announced that a revised ELG is being evaluated for the meat products and poultry point source category to address nutrient pollution. AWWA supports using ELGs to address PFAS in both OCPSF and metal finishing facilities and the EPA’s recognition of nutrient pollution’s impacts on drinking water quality and impaired water bodies. Recommendations included on the multi-industry PFAS study and the overarching process that EPA uses to consider new ELGs and revisions. Panel issues proposed changes to CCRs An advisory group to EPA has proposed that states provide templates to help utilities produce their annual Consumer Confidence Reports (CCRs) and that water utilities provide postcards to every household served by a system to make sure that renters or other non-bill-paying customers have access to the CCRs. The recommendations were made by a CCR rule revision working group to the National Drinking Water Advisory Council (NDWAC). The draft recommendations delve into issues such as readability, understandability, clarity and accuracy of CCRs, and methods and timing of delivery, environmental justice and accessibility issues. They have not been assessed for feasibility or costs and benefits. While there was consensus agreement on the two recommendations above, there were other revisions offered that the group did not come to a unanimous verdict on. The NDWAC CCR working group is to revise these draft recommendations based upon NDWAC’s input, then NDWAC will consider them at its December meeting. If NDWAC approves any recommendations, they will be submitted for the EPA administrator’s consideration when drafting the revised CCR rule. EPA is not required to use the NDWAC’s recommendations when creating the rule. There will subsequently be a proposal, a public comment period and stakeholder engagement opportunities and a final rule, followed by a compliance schedule for implementing required changes to the CCR. The schedule for these events has not yet been established, and AWWA will be engaged throughout the regulatory process. EPA will also hold a webinar on November 4 to discuss its anticipated revision process. Contact Adam Carpenter in the DC office with questions or feedback. EPA to unveil more small system grants Look out for EPA to announce the opportunity to apply for $21.7 million in grants for certain entities to provide technical assistance and training to help small drinking water and wastewater systems – often located in rural communities – across the United States. This will be for projects that help ensure drinking water in communities is safe and that wastewater is treated and responsibly returned to the environment. Eligible applicants are expected to be nonprofit organizations, nonprofit private universities and colleges and public institutions of higher education. Applicants will have 60 days to apply after the notice is posted, which may be as soon as today. EPA plans to award these cooperative agreements by spring 2022. This grant program complements $12 million in new grant funding announced earlier this fall to support small, rural and tribal wastewater systems. More information is available . EPA releases details of COVID surveillance EPA has recently released a compendium of COVID-19 wastewater surveillance programs across the nation aimed at assisting entities interested in implementing wastewater surveillance programs to monitor for pathogenic agents and chemical exposures in the future. The monitoring in the report occurred from 2020 to early 2021 and was led by federal, state, local, and tribal agencies and associations, universities and the private sector. The report explores federal and other funding sources, developing and implementing wastewater surveillance programs for SARS-CoV-2 and uses case studies to provide implementation insight and lessons learned. In addition, it guides those interested in implementing wastewater surveillance in the future by elaborating on funding, project management, results and potential actions to prevent the continued spread of COVID-19. Pesticide permit effective this month EPA has finalized its renewal of the Pesticide General Permit (PGP) for specified activities such as the application of aquatic herbicides for algae and weed growth. The 2021 PGP will be available for operators on its effective date, Oct. 31. The permit also informs state actions in instances in which it is not directly applicable. The 2021 PGP contains the same requirements and provisions as the current permit, with no substantive changes. However, the revised permit does include a more explicit description of responsible parties and their roles under the permit. The 2021 PGP replaces the requirement to use EPA’s eNOI system with a requirement to use EPA’s NPDES electronic-reporting Tool (NeT) when preparing and submitting notice of intents (NOI), notice of terminations (NOT) and annual reports. NeT PGP is now available to accept NOIs from decision-makers who are required to submit an NOI under EPA’s 2021 PGP. A petition was filed in the Ninth Circuit finding fault in EPA’s final permit, but that case is not altering the permit’s effective date.