Water News

WOTUS Public Meeting August 2021

In the August 4, 2021 Federal Register (WOTUS_Fed Reg_2021-08-04) the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the US Army Corps of Engineers (ACOE) announced a series of public meetings and roundtables as they develop a revised definition of “Waters of the United States” (WOTUS).  Per the enclosed notice, there will be two rulemaking steps.

The first rulemaking is referred to as a “foundational rule” that will “restore longstanding protections.”  The intent is to “restore the regulations defining WOTUS that were “were in place for decades until 2015, with updates to be consistent with relevant Supreme Court decisions.”  The second rulemaking will build “on that regulatory foundation.”

During August 2021 EPA and the ACOE will hold public meetings (via webcast) to hear from interested stakeholders on their perspectives on defining WOTUS.  The public meetings will be held on the following dates and times:

August 18, 2021, from 3 pm to 5 pm (ET)

August 23, 2021, from 1 pm to 3 pm (ET)

August 25, 2021, from 3 pm to 5 pm (ET) – this meeting is intended for “small entities”

August 26, 2021, from 6 p. to 8 pm (ET)

August 31, 2021, from 3 pm to 5 pm (ET)

The link below will take you to an EPA website where you can register for one of the public meetings.

https://www.epa.gov/wotus/public-outreach-and-stakeholder-engagement-activities

According to the enclosed Federal Register notice, the agencies also plan to hold ten (10) roundtable sessions around the country.  No details have been provided.

The agencies are also accepting written recommendations on the definition of WOTUS up to September 3, 2021. Written recommendations can be submitted to the public docket.  You can access public docket at the following link,

https://www.regulations.gov/

and then enter the following: EPA-HQ-OW-2021-0328

OEHHA Draft PHGs for PFOA and PFOS

On July 22, 2021, the California Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA) posted as announcement ( pfoa-scrnr072221) to be published in the California Regulatory Notice Register on July 30, 2021.  The notice announces the availability of proposed Public Health Goals (PHGs) for perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) and perfluorooctane sulfonic acid (PFOS).   The deadline to submit public comments will be September 28, 2021.  OEHHA will hold a public workshop on the proposed PHGs on September 28, 2021 from 1:00 pm to 4:00 pm (PT).  The workshop will be held in a virtual format.

The proposed PHGs are as follows:

PFOA – 0.007 parts per trillion (ppt)

PFOS – 1 ppt

The proposed PHGs are based on the one in a million cancer risk estimates.  According to information posted by OEHHA, the PFOA proposed PHG is based on kidney cancer in humans, and the PFOS proposed PHG is based on liver and pancreatic cancer in animal studies.

OEHHA’s draft Technical Support document for the proposed PHGs can be found at the following link:

https://oehha.ca.gov/sites/default/files/media/downloads/crnr/pfoapfosphgdraft061021.pdf

The draft Technical Support document also includes “….health protective drinking water concentration for noncancer health effects” as follows:

PFOA – 3 ppt

PFOS – 2 ppt

California Requirements for Microplastics In Drinking Water

The California State Water Resources Control Board (SWRCB) Division of Drinking (DDW) posted information that they anticipate holding a Board workshop in late summer 2021 on “….standardized methodology, sampling & analysis plan, health effects, and accreditation…” for microplastics in drinking water.  During fall 2021, DDW anticipates going to the Board to propose adoption of these requirements.

Background

In 2018 California adopted a law (Senate Bill 1422, adding section 116376 to the Health and Safety Code) that required DDW adopt a definition of microplastics in drinking water before July 1, 2020.

On March 24, 2020 the SWRCB DDW published for a 30-day public comment period a proposed definition of microplastics in drinking water.  A final definition of microplastics in drinking water was adopted by the SWRCB on June 16, 2020.

The 2018 law required that by July 1, 2021 the SWRCB adopt test methodology for microplastics in drinking water, adopt requirements for four years of testing and reporting on microplastics in drinking water, and develop accreditation requirements for laboratories to analyze microplastics.

The law also indicated that DDW, if appropriate: “….consider issuing a notification level or other guidance to aid consumer interpretations of the results of the testing required pursuant to this section.”