Government Affairs Update January 2023

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The Washington Department of Transportation WSDOT has submitted Bill Request #Z-0618.3/23 to restrict the use of Motor Vehicles Funds (MVFs) for utility relocations during highways construction projects. This Bill Request will codify a State Supreme Court Decision from1961. The proposed changes to RCW 47.44.030 will prohibit the use of MVFs to relocate any conflicting facilities occupying any public right of way. This includes state, county, and city rights of way. This Bill Request will also amend RCW 36.55.060 and RCW 35A.47.040 to prohibit a county or city from issuing a franchise to a utility owner that has the effect of requiring WSDOT to pay for facility relocations.


In case you missed it! The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has taken the following actions on PFAS in the last three months:

  • October 2022: The EPA announced $748,180 in research grant funding to three institutions for research to improve understanding of how people are exposed to PFAS in several communities throughout the country. Funding was awarded to Silent Spring Institute (Newton, MA), Duke University (Durham, NC), and Emory University (Atlanta, GA). READ MORE.
  • November 2022: The EPA published the Final Fifth Drinking Water Contaminant Candidate List (CCL 5), which will serve as the basis for regulatory considerations over the next five years under the Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA). The update included substantial expansion of PFAS, an important first step towards identifying additional PFAS that may require regulation under SDWA. READ MORE.
  • The EPA released “A Year of Progress Under EPA’s PFAS Strategic Roadmap,” a report that underscores key actions taken by the agency during the first year of implementing the PFAS Roadmap. “EPA continues to deliver on its promise to confront PFAS and protect the health of people and communities across the nation,” said Radhika Fox, Assistant Administrator for Water and Co-Chair of EPA’s Council on PFAS. “Today’s progress report highlights how much we have accomplished in the first year of implementing the PFAS Roadmap. The report also signals important actions the agency will take in the year to come, including our work to invest $10 billion from President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law in solutions to protect communities from emerging contaminants like PFAS.” READ MORE.
  • The USEPA has issued a guidance memo to states for dealing with PFAS in NPDES permits through monitoring and control requirements.
    • For POTWs (and their industrial users):
      • Require quarterly testing of influent, effluent and biosolids; use draft Method 1633.
      • Update industrial user (IU) inventories to include all IUs that are in industry categories “expected or suspected of PFAS discharges” as listed in the memo.
      • Require IUs to do quarterly PFAS monitoring.
      • Develop best management practices (BMPs) or local limits for IUs “where authority exists.”
      • Where legal authority for controls on IUs doesn’t exist, POTWs should encourage PFAS pollution prevention, product substitution and good housekeeping practices at IUs.
      • Take actions to address PFAS in biosolids, including using draft Method 1633 to test biosolids for PFAS, taking actions to reduce PFAS discharges from IUs, and regular monitoring of biosolids to validate PFAS reductions.
    • For industrial direct dischargers:
      • Require quarterly testing for PFAS for certain categories (including airports, landfills, paper facilities, metal finishing/electroplating operations, and organic chemicals and plastics plants), using draft Method 1633.
      • Permit applications that do not include PFAS information may not be complete, and States should consider requiring additional PFAS information if necessary before issuing the permits.
      • “Certain industrial processes may generate PFAS-contaminated solid waste or air emissions not covered by NPDES permitting and permitting agencies should coordinate with appropriate state authorities on proper containment and disposal to avoid cross-media contamination. EPA’s draft analytical method 1633 may be appropriate to assess the amount and types of PFAS for some of these wastestreams.”
      • Permits should include PFAS BMP requirements “when the practices are “reasonably necessary to achieve effluent limitations and standards or to carry out the purposes and intent of the CWA.” Those BMP provisions can include product substitution requirements.
      • Permits for stormwater discharges should include BMPs to address aqueous film-forming foam (AFFF) issues, including prohibiting the use of AFFFs other than for actual firefighting, eliminating PFOS and PFOA -containing AFFFs, and requiring immediate clean-up in all situations where AFFFs have been used.
      • Permits may need to include site-specific technology-based PFAS effluent limits (for industries without PFAS effluent guidelines), and must include water quality-based PFAS effluent limits as needed to ensure compliance with water quality standards (including narrative criteria). (This was not stated in the earlier memo.)
    • For both industrials and POTWs, EPA recommends that State permitting agencies notify downstream public water systems regarding draft NPDES permits with PFAS conditions.
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