Two New Alternative Water Supply Resources are Now Available

New Guidance for Direct Potable Reuse

A new guidance document, entitled Framework for Direct Potable Reuse, was published on September 14, 2015 by a National Water Research Institute (NWRI) Independent Advisory Panel.  The Framework document was developed to help state regulatory agencies and water utilities develop guidelines for safely converting wastewater into municipal drinking water through the emerging practice of direct potable reuse (DPR). It is the result of a collaborative effort between WateReuse, American Water Works Association, Water Environment Federation, and NWRI.

The Framework document includes information about costs, benefits, energy requirements, and comparative issues with other water sources and measures; and examines three key components of a DPR program that include regulatory considerations (e.g., measures to mitigate public health risks), technical issues related to the production of advanced treated water, and public support and outreach.  For more information and to download the report, go to:

GWPC Publishes Alternative Water Supplies Chapter in Groundwater Report

The Ground Water Protection Council (GWPC) has published a new chapter (Section 11) on alternative water supplies as part of its Groundwater Report to the Nation…A Call to Action.  The 26 page document includes general information about climate variability and water scarcity; discusses options for using alternative water supplies; shares case studies; and recommends actions for legislation and regulatory programs, education, research, and resource planning.

The chapter includes case studies from Kansas, Oregon, Texas, Hawaii, and Colorado; and covers topics on saline groundwater resources and desalination; hydraulic fracturing impacts on water quantity; stormwater harvesting; aquifer storage and recovery; and water reuse.  Some of the recommended actions at the end of the document include:

  • Congress should support research and development of innovative water conservation and supply augmentation strategies, and fund groundwater-related information collection required to implement national initiatives and legislation (such as the SECURE Water Act).
  • States should consider changes to water laws and practices that allow flexibility for addressing drought or climate impacts, and options for using water recycling to meet competing demands and requirements.
  • States and local governments should implement new stormwater regulations and innovative technologies to address surface water quality problems and prevent contamination of groundwater.
  • EPA and states/tribes should examine and address problems that are preventing the use of aquifer storage and recovery and desalination technology.
  • Education programs should be developed to highlight the value of using alternative water supplies, and provide information to water planners on how to characterize alternative resources; select treatment technologies; and determine costs to produce, develop, and provide delivery infrastructure.
  • USGS and states should continue to develop brackish and saline water resource information.
  • The Bureau of Reclamation, EPA, DOE, and USGS should continue to support research on the benefits and obstacles for implementing wastewater reuse, as well as define and study effects of emerging contaminants on drinking water.
  • States should identify water requirements needed for future growth, and develop integrated growth and water supply impact scenarios.
  • All levels of government should evaluate current and future capacity for using alternative water resources as part of their water management planning process and provide funding to address management at the local level.

For more information on the Groundwater Report to the Nation and to read and download the chapter on alternative water supplies, visit the GWPC web site at:

EPA Holds Webinar on Draft Hydraulic Fracturing Assessment Report

This week, EPA held a webinar on its draft study report entitled, “Assessment of the Potential Impacts of Hydraulic Fracturing (HF) for Oil and Gas on Drinking Water Resources.”  During the webinar, Stephen LeDuc of EPA’s Office of Research and Development presented background information about the draft report, as well as an overview of the report and findings.

The assessment is based on scientific literature reviews, research publications, and information provided by stakeholders.  The assessment identified vulnerabilities, but did not equate them to widespread, systemic impacts on drinking water sources (and potential sources) from HF activities.  Contributing factors to vulnerabilities included inadequate well casing and construction, well proximity to drinking water resources, spills, inadequately treated wastewater, and insufficient data and information to make some conclusions.  The assessment also considered well water volume and use, which it found to be highly variable depending on well locations and characteristics.  EPA will use comments from the public and EPA’s Science Advisory Board (SAB) to finalize the report.  The SAB plans to hold teleconferences on September 30 and October 1 and 19, and a panel meeting on October 28-30 as part of the peer review process for the draft assessment report.  For more information, visit the EPA web site at:

AWRA Webinar Features Public-Private Water Quality Program in Delaware River Watershed

The American Water Resources Association (AWRA) held a webinar this week about a “Unique Program to Drive Water Quality in the Delaware River Watershed.”  During the webinar, Carol Collier (formerly with the Delaware River Basin Commission) and Stefanie Kroll of Drexel University presented information about the Delaware River Watershed Initiative.  The William Penn Foundation launched the initiative to drive measurable improvement in the quality of the Delaware watershed that aims to ensure a sustainable supply of clean water for ecological health and human consumption, enjoyment, and economic opportunity.  The initiative includes more than 50 public and private partners that leverage funding and resources to target restoration and protection best practices in areas of the watershed with the best potential for measureable results.  The initiative supports science based research, data gathering and analysis, and advocacy focusing on four priority stressors: loss of forested headwaters, stormwater, agricultural run-off, and depletion of underground water supply.  For more information, visit the web site at:

Promote SepticSmart Week on September 21-25

SepticSmart Week Seal 073115

EPA is holding its third annual SepticSmart Week from September 21-25, 2015. SepticSmart Week outreach activities encourage homeowners and communities to care for and maintain their septic systems.

Nearly one-fifth of all American households depend on septic systems to treat their wastewater. Failure to maintain a septic system can lead to failures resulting in costly repairs, well contamination, polluted local waterways, and risks to public health and the environment.
During SepticSmart Week, EPA seeks to inform homeowners on proper septic system care and maintenance, assist state and local agencies in promoting homeowner education and awareness, and educate local decision makers about the infrastructure options available to improve and sustain their communities.  Visit EPA’s SepticSmart web page for more information and get printable homeowner-targeted materials in the SepticSmart Toolkit.

EPA Proposes Hazardous Waste Rules to Protect Water

EPA is proposing two new hazardous waste rules to strengthen environmental protection while reducing regulatory burden on businesses. One of the proposed rules will protect waterways, including drinking and surface water, by preventing the flushing of hazardous waste pharmaceuticals, and simplify the requirements for healthcare workers. The other rule will provide greater flexibility to industry while requiring new safeguards to protect the public from mismanagement of hazardous waste. Both of these rule proposals address challenges raised by stakeholders for implementing and complying with hazardous waste regulations.  The Agency will publish the rules in the Federal Register in the next few weeks with a 60-day comment period.  For additional information on these proposed rules, visit the web sites for the:  Pharmaceuticals Rule and Generator Improvements Rule.

EPA Develops Handout Summarizing its Climate Change Adaptation Tools

EPA has developed a handout summarizing the tools developed by the agency for state, tribal, and local governments and others to adapt their clean water and drinking water programs to a changing climate. Tools include, among others, a Storm Surge Inundation and Hurricane Strike Frequency Map; a Workbook for Developing Risk-Based Adaptation Plans; a Flood Resilience Guide for Water and Wastewater Utilities; and a National Stormwater Calculator with Climate Scenarios.

Click here to download the handout.

Click here to access the handout and other climate change and water resources.

September 8th is Protect Your Groundwater Day

The National Ground Water Association (NGWA) encourages every person to protect public health and the health of the environment by protecting groundwater and celebrating “Protect Your Groundwater Day” on September 8.  In the US, approximately 39 percent of the population regularly depends on groundwater.  This includes 38.5 million people who rely on private wells and 87.1 million people who rely on groundwater-supplied community water systems.  Protect Your Groundwater Day is an occasion for every citizen to ACT: Acknowledge the issue, Consider how it applies to you, then Take action. Following are some action steps individuals can take:

State drinking water programs should consider sharing information about Protect Your Groundwater Day with their water utilities and residents, as a means to create greater awareness about protecting this valuable resource.  For more information, visit the NGWA website at: To learn more about groundwater’s importance to human health and the environment, watch NGWA’s Groundwater Is Cool video.

New Value of Water Education Campaign and Toolkit

The Value of Water Coalition has launched a new education campaign and toolkit entitled, “What’s the Value of Water?”  The campaign aims to shine a light on water — our most precious, but often invisible, resource. These education materials are available for free to any organization that is working to raise awareness about the importance of investment in water infrastructure and water resources.  The toolkit includes: billboards; outdoor advertisements; print advertisements; bill stuffers; conference banners; a water fact sheet and message guide; and shareable social media graphics.  To view and download the materials, visit the Value of Water Coalition website at:  Note:  Please review usage guidelines before publishing any materials.

New USGS Water Quality Tracking Tool for Rivers and Streams

The U.S. Geological Survey has developed a new online graphical data tool that tracks water quality in the nation’s rivers and streams.  The tool can be used to:

  • Compare recent water-quality conditions to long-term conditions (1993-2013) at each site,
  • Download water-quality datasets (streamflow, concentrations, and loads), and
  • Evaluate nutrient loading to coastal areas and large tributaries throughout the Mississippi River Basin.

The tool also provides annual summaries of nutrient and sediment concentrations and loading information that can provide water resource managers with timely information to track how loadings and concentrations are changing over time in response to nutrient reduction actions.  Graphical summaries are available for 106 river and stream sites monitored as part of the USGS’s National Water-Quality Network for Streams and Rivers.  Pesticide data will also be included in future updates.  To access the online tool, visit the USGS web site.

OIG Recommends EPA Action to Manage Potential Hydraulic Fracturing Impacts on Water Resources

On July 16, EPA’s Office of Inspector General (OIG) published a report that shares findings from a review evaluating how the EPA and states use existing authorities to regulate the potential impacts of hydraulic fracturing on water.  The report findings are based on a performance audit that included a literature review and interviews with EPA, states, and stakeholders.  This included OIG interviews at EPA Headquarters, three EPA regional offices (3, 6, and 8), and three states (Pennsylvania, Arkansas, and Colorado).  During the interviews, OIG asked EPA and states questions about their respective programs that regulate the different stages of unconventional oil and gas development, ongoing initiatives to address potential impacts to water resources, practices observed from industry or implemented by the agency, and their views regarding gaps in regulations.  Based on the review findings, the OIG report recommends that:

  • The EPA Assistant Administrator for Water identify whether primacy states and tribes are issuing permits for the use of diesel fuels as required.
  • The EPA Assistant Administrator for Enforcement and Compliance Assurance address any compliance issues related to issuing permits for hydraulic fracturing using diesel fuels.
  • The EPA Assistant Administrator for Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention establish and publish a plan with milestone dates that outlines all steps for determining whether to propose a rule to obtain information concerning chemical substances and mixtures used in hydraulic fracturing.

EPA has adequately responded to the recommendations by either agreeing with them or proposing actions to address them.   For more information and for questions, please call the OIG public affairs office at 202-566-2391 or visit  The full report is available at: