Posts made in April 2023

DDW Proposing Lower NL and RL for Manganese

February 16, 2023, the State Water Resource Control Board (SWRCB), Division of Drinking Water (DDW) announced a proposal to lower the Notification Level (NL) for manganese to 20 µg/L (current NL is 500 µg/L). DDW is proposing to lower the manganese Response Level (RL) to 200 µg/L (the current RL is 5,000 µg/L).

The DDW announcement states “These levels are based on adverse neurotoxicological effects seen in laboratory animals exposed to manganese.”

DDW indicates that an informational item on the proposed manganese NL and RL is planned for the SWRCB’s March 21, 2023 meeting (the Agenda for the SWRCB’s March 21, 2023 meeting has not yet been posted).

Link to proposed manganese NL and RL and supporting documentation (at this location, scroll down to the table for the manganese entry):

EPA Announces BIL Funds Available for Emerging Contaminants

February 13, 2023, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued a Press Release announcing the availability of $2 billion from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL) to “….address emerging contaminants, like Per- and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances (PFAS) in drinking water across the country. This investment, which is allocated to states and territories, will be made available to communities as grants through EPA’s Emerging Contaminants in Small or Disadvantaged Communities (EC-SDC) Grant Program and will promote access to safe and clean water in small, rural, and disadvantaged communities while supporting local economies.”

“The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law invests $5 billion over five years to help communities that are on the frontlines of PFAS contamination reduce PFAS in drinking water. This initial allotment of $2 billion to states and territories can be used to prioritize infrastructure and source water treatment for pollutants, like PFAS and other emerging contaminants, and to conduct water quality testing.”

Link to EPA Press Release

At the bottom of the Press Release, EPA provides updates on several other regulatory actions regarding PFAS, including EPA’s efforts to propose Maximum Contaminant Levels (MCLs) for PFOA and PFOS. As indicated in the Press Release, the proposed MCLs are still undergoing review at the Office of Management and Budget. EPA states their goal continues to be to publish final MCLs by the end of 2023.

California Lead Legislation, PBS News Hour Story

Below are a couple of items that might be of interest.

Legislation Introduced for Lead Testing at Schools
On January 18, 2023, Assemblyman Chris Holden introduced AB 249 requiring lead testing by public water systems at schools (defined as pre-K through 12th grade) built before 2010. Testing would be required for all school faucets. Testing would be required by January 1, 2027. If results exceed five parts per billion (ppb) the faucet must be immediately shut off (and addressed by the school by either replacing the faucet, installing filtration, or providing bottled water as short-term remedy). The bill addresses funding sources for the program.

On February 2, 2023 the bill was referred to the Assembly Committee on Environmental Safety and Toxic Materials, and the Committee on Education.

On Sunday, February 5, 2023 the Los Angeles Times published an editorial (“Are California school kids drinking water tainted with lead? We don’t know, and that’s the problem.”) in support of the bill. Link to editorial:

PBS News Hour Story
On February 5, 2023 PBS News Hour ran a story: “Why American Cities Are Struggling to Supply Safe Drinking Water.” Link to broadcast:

EPA Requesting SAB Nominations

In the January 31, 2023 Federal Register, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is requesting nominations for the Science Advisory Board (SAB). The Federal Register notice presents a broad list of expertise EPA is seeking. That list includes the following: drinking water, drinking water engineering, water quality, public health, microbiology, water quality (the enclosed notice includes brief descriptions of the various SAB committees, including the Drinking Water Committee).

Individuals can be nominated by an organization or can self-nominate and will serve either a two-year or a three-year term. Nominations are due by March 2, 2023. Additional information is provided in the Federal Register notice

White House Announces Get the Lead Out Partnership

January 26, 2023, the Biden Administration announced the formation of a new “Get the Lead Out Partnership.”

The Press Release states the goal of the new partnership is to “….leverage existing efforts and funding to meet our commitment to accelerate the replacement of lead pipes by the end of the decade. The Biden-Harris Get the Lead Out Partnership is a coalition of federal government, states, Tribes, local communities, nongovernmental organizations, water utilities, labor unions, and private companies has committed to a framework of health-based justice-centered principles of lead service line replacement and has pledged to work together to identify new opportunities, resources, and actions that we can take together to help accelerate the Administration’s goal of accelerating the replacement of 100 percent of the Nation’s lead service lines in 10 years.”

No additional details are presented in the announcement.

Link to Press Release:

The initial list of partnership members is presented at the bottom of the Press Release.

EPA LSL Replacement Accelerators

This morning, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) posted information about a new technical assistance initiative “Lead Service Line Replacement Accelerators.” Below is the description of the initiative from EPA’s website:

“EPA is collaborating with state partners in a new water technical assistance initiative called Lead Service Line Replacement Accelerators. EPA and four state partners—Connecticut, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin—will work with 40 communities in 2023 to address existing barriers and accelerate progress towards LSL identification and replacement.
“EPA is committed to creating meaningful opportunities for the participating communities through peer exchange and learning. This initiative will include the development of tools and case studies to facilitate knowledge transfer and sharing of best practices between EPA, state and tribal programs, water system managers, and community leaders.
“The Accelerators will collectively work in 40 communities across the four states to accelerate lead service line projects by supporting the development of:
• Community engagement plans that provide educational resources and meaningfully engage affected community members while identifying and replacing LSLs;
• Lead Service Line inventories that identify the location of lead lines and meet requirements in the 2021 Lead and Copper Rule Revisions (LCRR) for a complete inventory by October 2024.
• Lead Service Line replacement plans that provide communities with a roadmap for identification, prioritization, and replacement of all LSLs, including public and private portions; and/or
• SRF funding applications that help communities access DWSRF funding for LSL replacement projects.”
Link to EPA’s Press Release:

Link to EPA’s website:

EPA UCMR5 Webinar – February 2023

EPA will hold a webinar on the fifth Unregulated Contaminant Monitoring Rule (UCMR5) presenting:

“….information on accessing and communicating UCMR 5 monitoring results. The presentation will review the reporting requirements and data review functionality in EPA’s web-based Safe Drinking Water Accession and Review System (SDWARS) for large (i.e., those serving more than 10,000 people) and small (i.e., those serving 10,000 or fewer people) PWSs. The presentation will also discuss the plan for communicating results from small PWSs, how the public can access the UCMR 5 results in the National Contaminant Occurrence Database, and provide additional resources developed by EPA and other stakeholders to communicate results.”

The two hour webinar will be presented on Wednesday, February 22, 2023. The webinar will be presented again on February 23, 2023 at the same time.

Links to Register
February 22, 2023 (Wednesday), 1:30 pm to 3:30 pm EDT

February 23, 2023 (Thursday), 1:30 pm – 3:30 pm EDT

Background: The final UCMR5 was published on December 27, 2021. Under the UCMR5, monitoring for 29 per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) and lithium will occur during 2023-2025.

Final Revised WOTUS Definition

In the January 18, 2023 Federal Register the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Department of the Army published a final revised definition of Waters of the United States (WOTUS) under the Clean Water Act.

Page 3142 in the enclosed Federal Register, presents the definition of what is, and what is not considered WOTUS.

December 30, 2022 Press Release:

“The Clean Water Act prohibits the discharge of pollutants from a point source to navigable waters unless otherwise authorized under the Act. Navigable waters are defined in the Act as “the waters of the United States, including the territorial seas.” Thus, “waters of the United States” (WOTUS) is a threshold term establishing the geographic scope of federal jurisdiction under the Clean Water Act. The term “waters of the United States” is not defined by the Act but has been defined by EPA and the Army in regulations since the 1970s and jointly implemented in the agencies’ respective programmatic activities.”

In 2015 EPA and the Army adopted revisions to the definition of WOTUS under the Clean Water Act (the revisions were referred to as the Clean Water Rule). Almost immediately, the Rule was challenged in court and implementation was halted in a number of States. In March 2017 EPA and the Department of the Army indicated their intent to rescind or revise the Clean Water Rule. In April 2020 a revised WOTUS definition was adopted by EPA and the Department of the Army (referred to as the Navigable Waters Protection Rule).

On January 20, 2021 President Biden issued Executive Order 13990 (“Protecting Public Health and the Environment and Restoring Science to Tackle the Climate Crisis”). Executive Order 13990 states in part: “The heads of all agencies shall immediately review all existing regulations, orders, guidance documents, policies, and any other similar agency actions (agency actions) promulgated, issued, or adopted between January 20, 2017, and January 20, 2021, that are or may be inconsistent with, or present obstacles to, the policy set forth in…” Executive Order 13990.

In June 2021 the Department of Justice, in coordination with EPA and the Department of the Army, filed a motion in the U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts requesting that the court remand the Navigable Waters Protection Rule (NWPR) back to the agencies. EPA and the Department of the Army indicated their intent to start a new rulemaking to again revise the definition of WOTUS.

EWG Study PFAS In Fish

Researchers from Duke University and the Environmental Working Group (EWG) published an article: “Locally caught freshwater fish across the United States are likely a significant source of exposure to PFOS and other perfluorinated compounds” in the journal Environmental Research.

Yesterday, EWG issued a Press Release regarding the published study. The opening lines of the Press Release are presented below:
A new study by Environmental Working Group scientists finds that consumption of just a single serving of freshwater fish per year could be equal to a month of drinking water laced with the “forever chemical” PFOS at high levels that may be harmful.
Researchers calculated that eating one fish in a year equated to ingesting water with PFOS at 48 parts per trillion, or ppt, for one month.

Link to EWG Press Release:

The Press Release/study has been reported by several news outlets (examples presented below):


CBS News story (note the PFAS video currently posted on CBS website is from a previous PFAS segment, and is not about the EWG study):

NBC Chicago:

Pennsylvania Adopts PFAS MCLs

On January 14, 2023, the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) published final maximum contaminant levels (MCLs) for Perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) and Perfluorooctanesulfonic acid (PFOS) as follows:

PFOA: 14 parts per trillion (ppt)
PFOS: 18 ppt

Compliance monitoring will begin January 1, 2024 for systems serving a population over 350. Initial monitoring will be four quarterly samples at entry points to the distribution system. Detection above the minimum reporting level (MRL) will trigger repeat monitoring. DEP has set the MRL at 5 ppt for both PFOA and PFOS.

Link to DEP press release:

Link to Pennsylvania Bulletin with the PFOA and PFOS MCLs:

In the Pennsylvania Bulletin, the background information on PFAS begins on page 333. Actual rule language begins on page 361. The new PFAS MCLs are presented at the bottom of page 362, and the monitoring requirements are presented on page 365.

Note: In October 2022, the federal Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) submitted their draft proposed MCLs for PFOA and PFOS to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) for review. As of today, the proposed MCLs are still under review at OMB. EPA published a “Regulatory Determination” to set MCLs for PFOA and PFOS in March 2021. Once they published that Regulatory Determination, that triggered deadlines under the Safe Drinking Water Act to publish the proposed MCLs within 24 months (by March 31, 2023) and to publish final MCLs 18 months after that (September 2024). EPA’s intent has been to publish the proposed MCLs by the end of 2022 and publish final MCLs by the end of 2023.