About Dan Askenaizer

Dr. Askenaizer leads WQTS’ work on regulatory compliance support for many of our water agencies clients. Dr. Askenaizer tracks water quality and treatment regulations at the Federal and State levels and provides regulatory updates to our clients. Dr. Askenaizer has strong expertise in the development of Regulatory Monitoring and Compliance Plans (RMCPs), which he has completed for a number of water agencies. He has also been working on a number of projects dealing with the development of distribution system monitoring plans and review of nitrification control strategies. Prior to joining WQTS, Dr. Askenaizer was the Water Quality Manager for the Glendale Water and Power. Under his leadership, the Water Quality Group conducted a demonstration-scale study of chlorite for nitrification control and a pilot-scale study of biological treatment for removal of nitrate. Dan has 30 years of experience working on projects dealing with regulatory, water quality and public health issues. Dan has given numerous presentations at workshops and round-tables across the country for water utilities. Dan was instrumental in developing and implementing a Mentoring Program for water staff and was involved in a Sustainable Development team.

Articles on CDC Waterborne Disease Estimate

Regarding the CDC’s study on waterborne disease in the US, earlier today CNN posted an article on the study.  Link to CNN article:

https://www.cnn.com/2020/12/16/health/waterborne-diseases-cdc-study-wellness/index.html

The CNN article has been reposted on a number of websites, here are two examples:

Link to KCTV5 website in Kansas City, MO

https://www.kctv5.com/americas-newest-water-safety-challenge-is-something-youve-never-heard-of/article_8b0dd25e-478e-5d59-87d5-1bf22d73c2f6.html

Link to Fox10 TV news website in Alabama:

https://www.fox10tv.com/news/us_world_news/americas-newest-water-safety-challenge-is-something-youve-never-heard-of/article_e01526d1-c913-50d7-9a80-af34fcc18339.html?block_id=1002699

CDC Estimate Waterborne Disease

Last October during the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) stakeholder meeting on potential revisions to the Microbial and DBP regulations (under the SDWA’s requirement to review regulations every six years), a representative from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) presented information on her agency’s latest estimate of waterborne disease in the United States.  She noted the following:

  • Safe drinking water and sanitation in the United States is one of the greatest public health achievements of the 20th century. However, waterborne illness persists and new public health challenges are emerging, due to aging infrastructure, chlorine-tolerant and biofilm-associated pathogens, and increasing recreational water use.
  • The study estimates that waterborne pathogens cause approximately 7.15 million illnesses, 118,000 hospitalizations, and 6,630 deaths every year.
  • Common diseases like otitis externa (swimmer’s ear), norovirus infection, giardiasis, and cryptosporidiosis account for 95% of all waterborne illnesses.
  • Despite accounting for a small proportion of overall illnesses, three biofilm-related pathogens (nontuberculous mycobacteria, Legionella, and Pseudomonas) cause the majority of hospitalizations and the largest number of deaths related to waterborne disease.
  • Biofilm-related pathogens are responsible for over 75% of the $3.3 billion in direct healthcare costs.
  • The findings from this analysis highlight the evolving epidemiology of waterborne disease in the United States, the increasing role of biofilm-associated pathogens, and the need to focus public health resources to prevent and control these infections.

At the annual meeting of the National Drinking Water Advisory Council (NDWAC) this month, CDC staff indicated that publication of their report is expected in the January issue of the Journal of Emerging Infectious Disease.  The American Water Works Association (AWWA) circulated an alert to utility members that the paper is expected to be available today.

CDC posted the article at the following location:

https://wwwnc.cdc.gov/eid/article/27/1/19-0676_article

Also note that CDC created a web site to help homeowners understand what they can do to manage microbial risks:

https://www.cdc.gov/healthywater/drinking/preventing-waterborne-germs-at-home.html?utm_source=communications&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=paadvisory_cdcreport&source_2=utility%20advisories&utm_content=12_15_20

DDW Workshop on CrVI Treatment Costs

On December 8th and 9th the Division of Drinking Water (DDW) will webcast a workshop on the treatment costs for hexavalent chromium (CrVI) at various potential MCLs (see Regulatory Update below).   The December 8th workshop will begin at 9:30 am, and the December 9th workshop will begin at 1:30 pm.

This information was distributed by a workgroup of the Association of California Water Agencies (ACWA).  The enclosed notice (DDW Public Workshops Dec 2020_Notice) has been posted on the State Water Resources Control Board’s meeting calendar:

https://www.waterboards.ca.gov/board_info/calendar/#20201201

Text copied from the enclosed notice:

“The workshop will begin with a staff presentation summarizing the development of estimated costs for each respective MCL, followed by an opportunity for public comment. During the comment period, members of the public will be allowed three minutes to provide oral comments, unless additional time is approved.”

The webcast of the workshop can be viewed at the following location:

https://video.calepa.ca.gov/

To make oral comments during the webcast, select the link below:

https://www.waterboards.ca.gov/drinking_water/certlic/drinkingwater/Regulations.html

Once you are at that location, select the link at the top of the page.

Written comments on DDW’s treatment cost information for potential CrVI MCLs are due by December 31, 2020.

DDW Posts Summary of CrVI Occurrence

Recently, the State Water Resources Control Board (SWRCB) Division of Drinking Water (DDW) posted updated occurrence data (dated collected between January 2014 and May 2020) for hexavalent chromium (CrVI).   The 1-page summary document (hex_chrome_occurrence_data_2020_v4 (1)) presents a table with the number of sources that would be impacted by different potential CrVI Maximum Contaminant Levels (MCLs).

Background

In 2014 DDW (at that time the Department of Public Health) adopted an MCL for CrVI of 10 µg/L.  In May 2017 the Superior Court of Sacramento County invalidated the CrVI MCL indicating that DDW had “failed to properly consider the economic feasibility of complying with the MCL.”  Under California’s Safe Drinking Water Act, MCLs are to be set as close to the Public Health Goal as “technologically and economically feasible, placing primary emphasis on the protection of public health.”

Following the Court’s 2017 decision, here is a quote from the SWRCB’s website: “While the Board staff disagrees with the court’s conclusion, the Board staff’s recommendation is to not appeal the trial court’s decision. It will likely be more expedient to begin the process of adopting a new MCL, rather than expending time and resources appealing the court’s order. The State Water Board hopes that the wealth of data obtained during the nearly three years the MCL has been in place will enable the Board to adopt the new regulation more quickly.”

DDW is currently working to establish criteria to determine economic feasibility and at the same time move forward with adopting a new MCL for CrVI.