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Government Affairs Update November 2022

gov't updateIdaho WQS and IDPES Rules Update
DEQ held a virtual scoping meeting on October 19, 2022, before initiating a rulemaking for Water Quality Standards and the Idaho Pollutant Discharge Elimination System Program. All agencies are required to perform a critical and comprehensive review of their chapters’ rules to reduce the overall regulatory burden, streamline various provisions, and increase clarity and ease of use.

Fuel Tank Seismic Stability
Oregon DEQ is developing rules to make Oregon fuel storage tanks more seismically resilient. A rules advisory committee was formed and met for the first time in late October 2022 to discuss the new Fuel Tank Seismic Stability program. The program is applicable to facilities that can store more than 2 million gallons of fuel on site, specifically within Lane, Multnomah, and Columbia counties. The work is a result of SB 1567, which passed in 2022. DEQ will be developing the program in coordination with DOGAMI.

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Clean Water SRF & Funding Options Webinar


Please join the PNCWA Government Affairs Committee for a webinar on everyone’s favorite — clean water funding! Join us at 10 a.m. PST on Wednesday, October 5, 2022. Learn how to join on the day of below.

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Government Affairs Update August 2022

gov't updatePFAS, Biosolids, and Drinking Water
As the waste industry awaits new federal guidance, states are developing regulations and laws on how to manage PFAS in everything from packaging to clothing to biosolids. Learn more.

State governments have adopted new PFAS regulations, increasingly targeting contamination of biosolids and wastewater. Learn more.

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Government Affairs Committee Update July 2022

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Discharge Monitoring Report – Quality Assurance Study Program:
Major and selected minor permittees under the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) program are required to participate in the annual Discharge Monitoring Report – Quality Assurance (DMR-QA) study program. DMR-QA evaluates the analytical ability of the laboratories that perform self-monitoring analyses required by their NPDES permit.

If you’re required to participate in DMR-QA, you must report results for the analytes listed in your permit, provided that they are also included in the DMR-QA study analyte list. Not all of the analytes listed on your NPDES permit may be included in an individual DMR-QA study, and you may voluntarily report additional study analytes not listed in your permit.

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Government Affairs Committee Update June 2022

gov't updateWashington State Legislature gave Ecology’s Water Quality Program one-time funding in the 2022 legislative session to investigate and recommend an alternative for a nutrient trading structure. Ecology will manage the contracting process and is currently recruiting and selecting a consulting firm to do this work.

Proviso language: $350,000 of the general fund — state appropriation for fiscal year 2023 is provided solely for the department to recommend one or more draft structures for nutrient credit trading that could be used to efficiently and quickly achieve nutrient discharge reductions for point source dischargers covered under the Puget Sound nutrient general permit. By June 30, 2023, the department must submit a report to the appropriate committees of the legislature consistent with RCW 43.01.036 that summarizes the draft structure or structures and describes a tribal consultation and a stakeholder engagement process to solicit feedback on the draft structure or structures and any necessary statutory changes and funding.

Government Affairs Committee Update May 2022

gov't update2022 National Water Week Fly-In
The 2022 National Water Week Fly-In was attended by two PNCWA representatives from Oregon who had great informative and inspirational meetings with their legislators. More details to come next month.

Water Affordability
The National Association of Clean Water Agencies (NACWA), along with the Water Environment Federation (WEF) and American Water Works Association (AWWA), filed comments in opposition to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's proposed 2022 Financial Capability Assessment Guidance and asked that the proposal not be finalized. NACWA opposes the guidance for multiple reasons, including that it is inconsistent with the Biden Administration's professed focus on environmental justice concerns. WEF, NACWA, and AWWA provided comments and recommendations and released a joint statement of their opposition.

The Proposed 2022 Clean Water Act (CWA) Financial Capability Assessment (FCA) Guidance outlines strategies for communities to support affordable utility rates and investments in water infrastructure. These investments will support CWA implementation.

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Government Affairs Committee Update Apr 2022

gov't updateThe EPA has published proposed rules for human health water quality criteria in Washington. There is a 60-day comment period which runs until May 31, 2022. Federal Human Health Criteria for Washington State Waters | US EPA

Water Week Returns to In-Person Attendance:
After two years of meeting virtually due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Water Week 2022 will return to an in-person format this year in Washington, D.C. with a full slate of meetings and events.

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Government Affairs Committee Update Mar 2022

gov't updateOregon Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) accepted the City of Ashland Water Quality Trading Plan as meeting the current intent of the Water Quality Trading Rule and objectives as set forth in OAR 340-039-0025. This project is primarily funded by the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality Clean Water State Revolving Fund. On September 4, 2018, the Ashland City Council awarded this contract to The Freshwater Trust.

Washington State Legislature removed the municipal fee cap for domestic wastewater utilities (SB 5585). Removing the fee cap will allow the state to increase staffing to reduce/remove the expired permit backlog. 

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Government Affairs Committee Update Feb 2022

gov't updateOn January 31, 2022, the White House released a comprehensive guidebook on the funding programs in the Infrastructure Investment & Jobs Act (IIJA), also known as the bipartisan infrastructure package.

“This guidebook is another step in our effort to be as transparent as possible, so you know what to apply for, who to contact, and how to get ready to rebuild,” according to Mitch Landrieu, White House Senior Advisor and Infrastructure Implementation Coordinator. “After all, most of the building will actually be done by state, Tribal, and local government partners.”

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Government Affairs Committee Update Dec 2021

gov't updateSave the date for the Watershed-Based Water Quality Management webinar, which will be held January 25-26, 2022.

The White House released updated state and territory fact sheets that highlight the nationwide impact of the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, the largest long-term investment in our infrastructure and competitiveness in nearly a century. The fact sheets detail how the historic legislation will allow states and territories across the country to repair roads and bridges, improve transportation options, build a network of electric vehicles (EV) chargers to accelerate the adoption of EVs, help connect every American to reliable high-speed internet, eliminate the nation’s lead service lines and pipes for clean drinking water, protect against extreme weather events and cyberattacks, and improve our nation’s airports. You can download the fact sheets by state here: Oregon, Washington, and Idaho.

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Government Affairs Committee Update Oct 2021

The Puget Sound Nutrient Reduction Grants Program has available grants. Check out their website for more info.

Download the Report to Congress on Integrated Plans to Comply with the Water Infrastructure Improvement Act of 2019 here.

Government Affairs Committee Update Aug 2021

A preliminary class action lawsuit settlement between the Charleston Water System (Charleston, South Carolina) and wipes manufacturer Kimberly-Clark could affect any entity that owned and/or operated wastewater conveyance and treatment systems since January 6, 2018. Class members need to be aware of this settlement and how it may affect them.

According to court filings in two cases EPA intends to reconsider approval of certain Washington water quality rules, including for PCBs, and initiate a federal notice-and-comment rulemaking to propose a rule establishing protective federal human health criteria applicable to Washington State’s surface waters. EPA intends to sign this proposed rule within nine months of the date that the Court grants the proposed order, after which time the proposed rule would be subject to public comment.

30 PSA Motion for abeyance
84 WA Motion for abeyance

Idaho has assumed primacy over the remaining two areas of NPDES permitting, Biosolids and Stormwater, completing the multi-year transfer of authority from EPA.

Government Affairs Committee Update Jun 2021

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In Washington state, on May 17, 2021 Governor Inslee signed into law the Healthy Environment for All (HEAL) Act (E2SSB5141) which will require state agencies including Department of Ecology to formally adopt environmental justice principles into their planning, budgeting, funding and regulatory processes. One example may be the attached Environmental Justice excerpt from the DRAFT WA General Biosolids Permit’s fact sheet.

The WA State Department of Ecology will release the draft Puget Sound Nutrient General Permit for public comment on June 16, 2021. See Ecology’s website for more information on the draft, its supporting documents, and July’s workshops and hearings. The comment period will close on August 2, 2021. Washington’s 2021-2023 capital budget (passed in April 2021) includes a $9 million proviso to help support optimization and planning requirements proposed in the draft permit. Ecology expects to release funding guidelines later this summer.

Oregon has a new aluminum standard effective April 19, 2021, more information here.

Oregon’s Wipes Labeling Bill Becomes Law. Oregon becomes the second state to require ‘Do Not Flush’ labeling. Oregon Gov. Kate Brown signed HB 2344 into law on June 8, making Oregon the nation’s second state to require “Do Not Flush” labeling on disposable wipes. The state of Washington enacted a similar requirement in 2020.

Government Affairs Committee Update Apr 2021

The latest COVID relief bill appropriated $350 billion in new Coronavirus State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds, allowing for uses which specifically include making necessary investments in water and sewer infrastructure unrelated to COVID-19. (Section 9901)

Make Your Voice Heard!

US Capitol

WEF’s Water Advocates program empowers you to share your knowledge and expertise to inform government decision-makers about the importance of water. Two letter campaigns to congress are in progress now, and your support will increase awareness of these needs:

  • Increase Water Appropriations in FY 2022
  • Always Include Water in Infrastructure Packages

Government Affairs Committee Update Feb 2021

gov't updateThe December FY2021 Consolidated Appropriations Act included $638M for low-income water and wastewater ratepayer assistance. NACWA and other wastewater industry groups are working with the Dept. of Health and Humans Services on how to implement this program.

Government Affairs Committee Jan Update

gov't updateIdaho DEQ is conducting a negotiated rulemaking for an Arsenic Water Quality Standard. Comments on the draft rule are due January 15th. 

The Washington State Department of Ecology will hold an informational meeting on EPA’s Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) for Temperature in the Columbia and Lower Snake Rivers on January 28, 2021. EPA published the temperature TMDL in May 2020 and held a 90-day public comment period this past summer. Ecology is responsible for writing Washington’s implementation plan for this TMDL. We would like to meet with interested stakeholders and tribes to introduce the Ecology team who will be working on implementation, give an update on what happened in 2020, and share what we are planning for early stages of implementation in 2021. This meeting is a preliminary, informational meeting. We plan to engage more formally with stakeholders and tribes when EPA reissues an updated TMDL.
Date: January 28, 9:30 to 11 a.m.
Registration: Please register at this link to attend via Webex.
Project webpage for future updates:

Washington Department of Ecology DRAFT PFAS Chemical Action Plan (CAP) - Ecology has extended the public comment period from January 4 to January 22. The draft CAP addresses source control, treatment, and other controls for ongoing and legacy contamination in ground, groundwater, and surface waters. Draft PFAS Chemical Action Plan - Washington State Department of Ecology.

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Government Affairs Committee Update Dec 2020

You may have seen in the press recently that the U.S. House and Senate agreed upon a 2020 Water Resources Development Act (WRDA) bill. Unfortunately, this agreed-upon version dropped all the wastewater, drinking water, and stormwater provisions, as they couldn’t make the bill neutral with these provisions. It is a U.S. Army Corps of Engineers only bill.

There were several workforce, stormwater, and resilience provisions in the House and Senate versions of the bill, as well as Clean Water SRF and Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (WIFIA) reauthorization. Transportation and Infrastructure (T&I) Committee staff said that in 2021, they plan to pick up where they left off and try to negotiate agreements on stand-alone Clean Water (wastewater & stormwater) and Drinking Water bills. Sen. Schumer's (D-NY) office re-affirmed that approach yesterday. They will either try to pass those bills early in 2021 or roll them into a major infrastructure package.

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Government Affairs Committee Update Nov 2020

Want to stay updated on regulatory changes in the PNW but don't have time to track all the different agencies? You don't have to! The PNCWA Government Affairs Committee stays on top of issues and gives monthly updates in the PNCWA digest. Not signed up for the digest? We've got you covered. Sign up here. Here's the update for Sept 2020.

Washington State released a draft Chemical Action Plan for PFAS, click here.

The EPA released a draft Affordability Guidance document. Here is the notice.

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Government Affairs Committee Update Sept 2020

Want to stay updated on regulatory changes in the PNW but don't have time to track all the different agencies? You don't have to! The PNCWA Government Affairs Committee stays on top of issues and gives monthly updates in the PNCWA digest. Not signed up for the digest? We've got you covered. Sign up here. Here's the update for Sept 2020.

Idaho (DEQ) is developing permitting guidance for Storm Water General Permits. You can find more information here.

Oregon continues to explore regulation of PFAS, especially as it pertains to firefighting foam. Here are some more articles related to PFAS.
Michigan's new PFAS rules: 5 things to know
PFAS and Private Well Owners: What You Need to Know
EPA Awards Nearly $5 Million for New Research on Managing PFAS in Agricultural and Rural Communities | US EPA
Call for Nominations: Guidance on PFAS Testing and Health Outcomes