Water News

Regulatory Freeze

On January 20, 2021 the Biden Administration issued a Regulatory Freeze to allow for the following:

  1. Withdrawal of any regulation that has been sent to the government printing office for publication in the Federal Register, but has not yet been published in the Federal Register.  This would include two recent drinking water actions from EPA: (1) the proposed UCMR5 and the (2) the final Regulatory Determination that included a decision to regulate PFOA and PFOS (and not regulate 1,1-dichloroethane, acetochlor, methyl bromide (bromomethane), metolachlor, nitrobenzene, and RDX).  The Regulatory Freeze memo states regulations are withdrawn “until a department or agency head appointed or designated by the President after noon on January 20, 2021, reviews and approves the rule.”
  2. For any regulation published in the Federal Register within the previous 60 days that has not yet taken effect – consider postponing the rule’s effective dates for 60 days to allow for review.   And consider opening up the regulation for additional public comment.  The Regulatory Freeze memo allows for an extension of the 60-day delay.  This could include the final Revised Lead and Copper Rule (published on January 15, 2021 in the Federal Register with an effective date of March 16, 2021).
  3. Note – the Regulatory Freeze memo also states the following “Exclude from the[se] actions….any rules subject to statutory or judicial deadlines….”  It is not known if this statement will be applied to the proposed UCMR5 and the final Regulatory Determination.

WQTS will continue to provide updates as information becomes available.

Link to the Regulatory Freeze memo from President Biden’s Chief of Staff:

https://www.whitehouse.gov/briefing-room/presidential-actions/2021/01/20/regulatory-freeze-pending-review/

Link to article in the The Hill:

https://thehill.com/policy/energy-environment/535106-biden-freeze-of-trump-rules-could-halt-environmental-rollbacks

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.