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Important Update from US EPA: New requirements under the America’s Water Infrastructure Act of 2018

New requirements under the America’s Water Infrastructure Act of 2018

 

Attention Water Suppliers:

Below is a short summary* of the newly enacted requirement of the America’s Water Infrastructure Act (AWIA) as these relate to security, resiliency and emergency response.  I anticipate additional details to be shared with utilities and state drinking water agencies once the Agency has completed some of its work.  This Act speaks to grants; however, note that authorization of funding does not mean the funds have been appropriated (provided to EPA for award to community water systems to complete this work).

 

While many of you may be anxious to begin to undertake your assessments, please be aware that there are requirements placed on EPA to develop guidance materials for utilities, including baseline threat information (due no later than August 1, 2019) and information on how to submit your certifications.  This guidance may not be ready until next summer.

Please do not submit risk assessments; these are not required to be sent to EPA under this act, unlike the Bioterrorism Act and EPA does not wish to receive these sensitive documents.  There are reoccurring requirements as well; this is NOT a once and done assessment/certification.

 

Section 2005. Drinking water infrastructure resilience and sustainability; provides grant opportunities

for states to assist or otherwise carry out necessary and appropriate activities concerning contaminated

drinking water, provided by a public water system or underground source of drinking water, in an

underserved and disadvantaged community when an imminent and substantial endangerment is present.

 

Section 2007. Innovative water technology grant program; authorizes $10 million in grants in fiscal

years 2019 and 2020 for competitively awarded grants to develop, test, and deploy innovative water

technologies or provide technical assistance to deploy these technologies.

 

Section 2013. Community water system risk and resilience; replaces the provisions in SDWA regarding

anti-terrorism activities and instead, in line with existing water system practices, creates requirements for

assessing risks from malevolent acts, including terrorism, and resilience to natural hazards and emergency

response plans to those threats by community water systems serving more than 3,300 persons.

 

This section requires certification to EPA that the assessment was complete and due dates are phased in by water system size:

>100,000 persons by March 31, 2020;

50,000 to < 100,000 by December 31, 2020; and

3,300 to < 50,000 by June 30, 2021.

 

Six months after the assessment certification, another certification is due to EPA that the Emergency Response Plan has been updated to incorporate findings of the assessment.

 

Assessments are required to be reviewed every 5 years to determine whether the assessment must be revised.  Again, a certification that this review was conducted and the assessment revised, if applicable, is required to be submitted to EPA.

 

Section 2018. Source water; amends the Emergency Planning and Community Right to Know Act to help

community water systems better understand real and potential threats to the source water they treat for

drinking water.  [EPA believes that this will enable water suppliers to obtain more details about what is stored upstream]

 

And because you also hear from me about Consumer Confidence Reports, there is this new section:

Section 2008. Improved consumer confidence reports; requires community water systems, serving more

than 10,000 persons, to provide a CCR to each customer of the system at least biannually [note: this is twice a year]. Also requires

EPA to improve the format of the consumer confidence report to increase understandability and usefulness

to non-technical readers on the quality of their water.

 

How this will be implemented has not been determine and could require EPA to develop revised regulations.

*taken from NRWA Rural Water Policy Advisory

 

Patti Kay Wisniewski

Drinking Water Security Coordinator

US EPA Region III

Drinking Water Branch (3WP21)

1650 Arch Street

Phila, PA  19103

 

215-814-5668

Cell: 215-514-7893

Email: Wisniewski.patti-kay@epa.gov

(note the hyphen appears in email only)

 

 

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