Source Water Collaborative Publishes Call to Action

The Source Water Collaborative (SWC) has just published a “Call to Action” that ASDWA helped to develop.  This document includes a future vision in which “All drinking water sources are adequately protected,” along with key actions for state, federal, and local partners to:  update and improve source water assessments and protection plans; protect drinking water sources and work with key partners; and implement rapid emergency notification and response procedures.  Please note that this was a “soft launch” of the Call to Action paper, to coincide with the 40th Anniversary of the Safe Drinking Water Act Celebratory Event that was held last week.  The SWC’s full promotion of the Call to Action  is planned for early 2015. To accompany the attached 4-pager, the full promotion will also feature a companion document that includes informational resources and tools for SWC organizations and their members to facilitate the proposed actions.  To view and download the Call to Action, visit the SWC home page at www.sourcewatercollaborative.org.

USDA Seeks Public Comment on New EQIP Rule

Today, the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) published a Federal Register Notice asking for public comment on a new rule that outlines how it will improve the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP).  EQIP is a voluntary program that provides financial and technical assistance to agricultural producers and forest landowners to address soil, water, and air concerns on their lands for improved environmental benefits, including water quality.  This new interim rule includes EQIP program changes authorized by Congress in the 2014 Farm Bill, and is intended to streamline the program and simplify the regulation r for farmers, ranchers and forest landowners.  Comments are due by February 10, 2015, based on a 60-day comment period.  View the USDA news release HERE.  View the Federal Register Notice HERE.

This rule follows the publication of the Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP) interim final rule in the Federal Register on November 5. USDA is also seeking comments for the CSP rule.  For more information about interim final rules for USDA NRCS’s Farm Bill conservation programs, visit EQIP Rule Page.

Celebrate the 40th Anniversary of the Safe Drinking Water Act!

December 16, 2014 will commemorate the 40th anniversary of the Safe Drinking Water Act.  In anticipation of that important milestone, ASDWA has developed and gathered some information to help you join in the celebration.  We have created a special portion of our web site dedicated to this anniversary where you will find the following materials: 

  • A narrative history of our collective progress under the SDWA, from a state drinking water program perspective
  • A customizable press release and Governor’s proclamation
  • Information about a December 9th celebration of the 40th anniversary
  • Testimonials from four state drinking water program administrators
  • Other resources and links (including a link to EPA’s 40th anniversary web page and a special video developed by the Minnesota drinking water program)

Visit the ASDWA web site at:  http://www.asdwa.org/40thanniversary.

EPA Water Utility Climate Resilience Pilots Announced

EPA has announced that it will provide up to $600,000 in training and technical assistance to help drinking water, wastewater and stormwater utilities in more than 20 communities bolster their climate change resilience and readiness  These communities will participate in a multi-year pilot program using EPA’s Climate Resilience Evaluation and Awareness Tool (CREAT) software that helps users identify assets, threats and adaptation options to help reduce risk from climate change such as droughts, more intense and frequent storms, flooding, sea-level rise and changes to water quality.

The communities receiving assistance from EPA include:  ​Auburn, AL; ​Austin and Houston, TX; ​Blair, NE; ​Bozeman and Helena, MT; Faribault, MN; ​Fredericktown, MO; ​Haworth, NJ; ​Henryville, IN; ​Hillsboro, KS; ​Manchester-by-the-Sea, MA; ​Nome, AR; ​Norfolk, VA; ​Portsmouth, NH; ​Redwood Valley, CA; ​Sandpoint, Idaho; and the Seminole Tribe, FL.

For more information, visit EPA’s Climate Ready Water Utilities (CRWU) web site.

EPA Awards Great Lakes HABs Grants to Ohio, Michigan and Indiana

EPA has awarded four Great Lakes Restoration Initiative (GLRI) grants totaling over $8.6 million to Ohio, Michigan and Indiana state agencies to protect public health by targeting harmful algal blooms in western Lake Erie.  These Great Lake Restoration Initiative grants to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (approximately $5.9 million), the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency (over $1.5 million), the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (approximately $807,000) and the Indiana Department of Agriculture (approximately $360,000) will fund eight projects.  The grants will be used to provide technical assistance and incentives to farmers in western Lake Erie watersheds to reduce phosphorus runoff that contributes to harmful algal blooms, and to improve measurement of phosphorus loads in Lake Erie tributaries.  The recently released GLRI Action Plan lays out a strategy for increased federal efforts to reduce agricultural and urban runoff in these priority watersheds during 2015-19.

For more information about the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative and to view the Action Plan:  visit the web site at http://www.epa.gov/greatlakes/glri/.

Now Available – CWA-SDWA Toolkit to Protect Sources of Drinking Water

We are very pleased to announce the availability of the Opportunities to Protect Drinking Water and Advance Watershed Goals Through the Clean Water Act: A Toolkit for State, Interstate, Tribal and Federal Water Program Managers.  This Toolkit is designed to enable state and EPA water quality practitioners to better protect drinking water supplies using regulatory and non-regulatory provisions of the Clean Water Act and achieve mutual goals – better protected sources of drinking water and improved water quality. A one page fact sheet about the Toolkit is also provided, for your reference.

The Toolkit is the result of a multi-year effort by state and EPA water quality managers across clean water and safe drinking water programs. The group drew on expertise and examples of success from many states to provide the most promising opportunities to address complex water quality challenges that could benefit from a coordinated and collaborative approach, leveraging all available tools and resources.  This Toolkit:

  • identifies opportunities to reduce pollution in drinking water sources by using CWA tools;
  • provides examples of on-the-ground implementation;
  • demonstrates how program managers can align their efforts to protect source water through a combination of actions and institutional relationships that facilitate cross-program coordination at the national, regional, state, and watershed scales to achieve common objectives; and
  • shows how state clean water programs can leverage the high value that consumers place on public health protection and safe drinking water to increase public support for addressing surface and ground water quality challenges more effectively.

We plan to hold webinars, in the near future, to delve into the Toolkit in detail and provide some case examples of how it can be used.  But, please don’t wait for those webinars.  The Toolkit is “good to go” and can be used now to support coordination and collaboration between safe drinking water and clean water managers. FYI, the Toolkit is also being disseminated by state and EPA clean water managers to their respective networks.

Please let us know if you have any questions about the Toolkit.

WaterRF Fact Sheet — Ebola: Not Waterborne Illness

Ebola is not a foodborne, waterborne, or airborne illness. The virus is transmitted to humans
from wild animals and spreads in the human population through human-to-human transmission.
Ebola is transmitted through direct contact with infected bodily fluids (e.g., blood, vomit,
feces).1,3 The Ebola virus can only replicate within host cells. Therefore, it cannot survive long
in water because it does not have its host — either a human or an animal.  See the Fact Sheet.

EPA Proposed Waters of the US Rule Comment Period Extended (Again) to November 14th

EPA and the US Army Corps of Engineers (COE) are extending the public comment period for the second time on the Proposed Waters of the US Rule to Friday, November 14, 2014.  The extension is being made to allow for the completion of the Scientific Advisory Board’s (SAB) peer review on the connectivity of streams and wetlands, and to provide the public with the opportunity to comment on the SAB review.  EPA and the COE are continuing to meet with stakeholders during the comment period to explain the proposal, answer questions, and hold discussions.

Information about the proposed rule can be found at www.epa.gov/uswaters.

EPA and CEQ Launch Collaborative to Advance Green Infrastructure 

On October 8th, EPA and the White House Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) announced the formation of a broad collaborative to advance the use of green infrastructure in communities across the country.  The Green Infrastructure Collaborative will leverage efforts from federal agencies, non-governmental organizations, the private sector, and academia to advance the adoption of green infrastructure to support water quality and community development goals.  More information about this initiative is available through the following link:  Learn more.

EPA Publishes New Flood Resilience Guide for Water and Wastewater Utilities

EPA’s Water Security Division is pleased to announce the release of their newest tool called Flood Resilience: A Basic Guide for Water and Wastewater Utilities. Drinking water and wastewater utilities are particularly vulnerable to flooding, which can damage pumps, disconnect chemical tanks, break distribution lines and disrupt power supplies. Targeted to small and medium utilities, the Flood Resilience Guide outlines a simple, 4-step assessment process to help any water utility understand their flooding threat and identify practical mitigation options to protect their critical assets. With a user-friendly layout, the Guide provides worksheets, instructional videos, and flood maps to help utilities through the process. For outreach to the water sector, EPA has partnered with Rural Water organizations in several states to co-present training on flood resilience.  EPA also intends to conduct a national webinar to further promote the Flood Resilience Guide. You can download the tool from EPA’s website at www.water.epa.gov/infrastructure/watersecurity.

via EPA Publishes New Flood Resilience Guide for Water and Wastewater Utilities.