AWWA publishes timely PFAS resources for water systems This week, AWWA released three major per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) guides and reports: Drinking Water Treatment for PFAS Selection Guide, Source Water Evaluation Guide for PFAS and Summary of Toxicological Research for PFAS. These resources expand on AWWA PFAS Fact Sheets and were developed with input from technical experts and volunteers. The documents, which are free to members, bring together a wide range of information to support water systems’ efforts to address PFAS and are available on AWWA’s PFAS Resource page . In other PFAS developments: This week, the North East Biosolids & Residuals Association, in association with the Water Environment Federation and the National Association of Clean Water Agencies, published a report on cost implications for biosolids management in response to PFAS concerns . The report found that without a clear regulatory framework, the cost of managing biosolids has increased approximately 37% on average. The report also noted that systems beneficially reusing biosolids experienced the most significant impacts. For example, systems that reverted to landfill disposal after abatement of beneficial reuse programs were burdened with biosolids management costs at least double their previous costs. The National Academy of Sciences, Engineering, and Mathematics hosted a virtual workshop Oct. 26-27 to discuss federal PFAS human health research. Speakers talked about the need to address major research gaps associated with mixtures of PFAS, emerging PFAS chemicals, and toxicity at relevant levels of PFAS. A recording of the workshop will be available next week. The Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy hosted the Great Lakes PFAS Summit . AWWA volunteer Brian Steglitz described Ann Arbor’s proactive approach for addressing PFAS contamination, and other speakers addressed PFAS investigation, treatment, research and risk communication. Representatives of the Interstate Technology & Regulatory Council presented its recently published Risk Communication Toolkit . AWWA encourages interested members to review the new resources to learn more about effective strategies to address PFAS and better understand the state of the science for PFAS toxicity. Responses particularly crucial for SOTWI report this year Given the unusual nature of the year 2020 – with the COVID-19 epidemic and consequent economic stresses – responses to the next iteration of AWWA’s annual State of the Industry (SOTWI) report will be particularly crucial this year. The SOTWI survey received a record number of responses last year, with 3,351 water professionals sharing their insights and opinions about the state of the water industry and top water sector challenges. The survey takes 10-15 minutes to complete and will be open through Nov. 20. As an incentive, AWWA will raffle gift cards to survey participants. The survey is being administered online . More than $700 million in WIFIA loans close The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced it has closed four more loans under the Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (WIFIA) program, amounting to about $708 million in loans. AWWA was the chief architect of WIFIA, which is now administered by EPA. The projects are as follows: $265 million to DeKalb County, Ga. This loan will support, rehabilitate and repair the highest-priority areas of an aging wastewater collection and treatment system. Projects will include sewer replacement, trunk sewer upsizing, full or partial length sewer lining and related activities at various locations. EPA said the loan will serve 745,000 customers and create 1,891 jobs. $225 million to the Hampton Roads Sanitation District, Va. This will be the first major water reuse initiative on the East Coast. It includes more than 20 projects to upgrade existing treatment works and build wells to inject highly treated water into the stressed Potomac Aquifer. EPA said the loan will serve about 1.7 million customers and create 1,412 jobs. $156 million to Memphis, Tenn. This will finance an upgrade to the utility’s existing facility to comply with new National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System permit requirements for effluent disinfection and overall reduction in treated total suspended solids and biological oxygen demand in the effluent. EPA said this loan will serve 194,000 customers and create 1,015 jobs. $61.9 million to Atlanta . The city will construct an off-line temporary 15-million-gallon storage tank for peak wet weather sewage flow. EPA said the project will serve 177,000 customers and create 405 jobs. This is the first loan under a master agreement that will commit $216.8 million overall in WIFIA assistance to the city of Atlanta to address sewer overflow abatement and water system distribution resiliency issues in the city over the next five years. EPA issues grants to address lead in water Officials from EPA last week announced a number of projects selected to receive nearly $40 million in grant funding under the Water Infrastructure Improvements for the Nation Act (WIIN), signed into law in 2016. These first-ever selections under the WIIN Act will assist disadvantaged communities and schools in removing sources of lead in drinking water. The projects will include replacing thousands of lead service lines and removing potential sources of lead in hundreds of schools and childcare facilities. The following grants were announced: Lead Service Line Replacement Projects Providence Water Supply Board, R.I. - $6.4M City of Benton Harbor, Mich. - $5.6M City of Grand Rapids, Mich. - $5.1M Lead in Schools and Childcare Facilities Projects Indiana Finance Authority - $544,000 Newark Board of Education, N.J. - $7.5M Commonwealth of Massachusetts Clean Water Trust - $3M District of Columbia - $2.3M Elevate Energy, Ill. - $2M Virginia Department of Health - $1.3M Boston Public Schools - $6.2M Interim decision reached on chlorine registration EPA has released an interim decision for re-registration of chlorine as a pesticide. The decision classified all uses of chlorine gas other than for municipal water and wastewater treatment as restricted uses, reflecting better coordination between the agency’s drinking water and pesticide programs. We see this as setting the stage for improved labelling for allowed chlorine dosages. Disinfection of drinking water using chlorine gas and other disinfectants is regulated under both the Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA) and the Federal Insecticide Fungicide and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA). Under FIFRA, pesticides including disinfectants are subject to a periodic review. Chlorine gas has been stuck in a very extended re-registration process. FIFRA registrants will submit new labels for EPA review later this year. Currently, EPA appears to be taking a similar approach to recent revisions to sodium hypochlorite labels, which reference SDWA treatment requirements directly. Once implemented, this change should reduce conflicts between state inspections for FIFRA compliance and practices required to meet SDWA regulations. This decision also emphasizes the importance of ongoing training and practice regarding chlorine gas safety. Updated occurrence data for UCMR 4 released EPA’s latest release of data from the Fourth Unregulated Contaminant Monitoring Rule (UCMR 4) indicates that 8.3% of the water systems reporting showed the disinfection byproduct known as haloacetic acids above the reference concentration. Reference concentrations are health-based levels, not regulatory limits or action levels. They are used for future regulatory determination processes. The new data showed the following percentages of water systems had specific contaminants over reference concentrations: 1.9%, manganese; 1.4%, quinoline; 0.5%, alpha-hexachlorocyclohexane; 0.2%, microcystins; 0.1%, profenofos; and 0.03%, cylindrospermopsin. EPA published UCMR 4 in the Federal Register in December 2016. Its purpose is to fill occurrence data gaps prior to an EPA decision to regulate a new contaminant. To date, EPA has released nine rounds of data summary from UCMR 4. The proposed rule laying out required monitoring in UCMR 5 has not been published pending review by the Office of Management and Budget. The National Defense Authorization Act of 2020 requires EPA to include monitoring for PFAS for which it has an applicable drinking water method (i.e., EPA Method 537.1 and EPA Method 533 ). Utility posts ‘green bond’ to protect water shed Central Arkansas Water last week posted a $30.6 million “green bond” to acquire and preserve forests to protect the quality of water in its watershed and to help finance infrastructure improvements. The utility serves nearly 500,000 customers. Utility leaders explained that 35% of the bond proceeds would finance “green infrastructure” – the acquisition of 4,500 acres of forested land. As a result, 45 percent of the Lake Maumelle watershed will be conserved as forest land. It will also have a positive impact on the Ouachita National Recreational Trail, Pinnacle Mountain State Park and the Rattlesnake Ridge Natural Area. Other bond proceeds will finance “gray infrastructure,” such as improvements to pipelines and delivery systems to reduce leakage and repairs and to increase resiliency. Central Arkansas Water is the largest water utility in the state, serving 1 in every 7 Arkansans. ASDWA’s new president-elect from Connecticut Lori Mathieu, branch chief of the drinking water and environmental health programs at the Connecticut Department of Public Health, is the Association of State Drinking Water Administrators (ASDWA) new president-elect. She joins ASDWA officers President Cathy Tucker-Vogel, Kansas Department of Health and Environment; and Past- President Shellie Chard, Oklahoma Department of Environmental Quality; in ASDWA’s volunteer leadership. Mathieu has been very involved in water supply planning and leading Connecticut’s efforts to manage Legionella in water systems. Connecticut has a portfolio of state tools geared toward protecting drinking water supplies. Connecticut was one of the first states to set groundwater cleanup guidelines and require source water evaluations for PFAS and continues to work toward setting a drinking water standard.