Filtered by category: Government Affairs Clear Filter

National Water Policy Fly-In Recap

PNCWA Participates in Water Week 2023 by Sending 8 Members to Washington DC

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Government Affairs Committee Update

May 2023


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Government Affairs Committee Update


  • Updates to Idaho HHWQC for Arsenic:  The updates to Idaho’s human health criteria for arsenic were negotiated under Docket No. 58-0102-1801 and published as a proposed rule under Docket No. 58-0102-2201. The pending rule was adopted by the Idaho Board of Environmental Quality on May 26, 2022, and will be submitted to the Idaho Legislature for review during the 2023 legislative session. The pending rule includes the rule as initially proposed along with revisions in Subsections 210.01.b., Footnote k, and 210.03.e. and is available here. Once the pending rule is approved by the Idaho Legislature, DEQ will submit the rule to EPA for review.


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Government Affairs Committee Update


  • Updates to Idaho HHWQC for Arsenic: The updates to Idaho’s human health criteria for arsenic were negotiated under Docket No. 58-0102-1801 and published as a proposed rule under Docket No. 58-0102-2201. The pending rule was adopted by the Idaho Board of Environmental Quality on May 26, 2022, and will be submitted to the Idaho Legislature for review during the 2023 legislative session. The pending rule includes the rule as initially proposed along with revisions in Subsections 210.01.b., Footnote k, and 210.03.e. and is available here. Once the pending rule is approved by the Idaho Legislature, DEQ will submit the rule to EPA for review.

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Government Affairs Update


  • Research Centers for Stormwater Infrastructure has been funded after WEF and NMSA support. Congress has provided $3M in initial funding for the establishment of three to five Centers of Excellence for Stormwater Infrastructure Technologies (CESITs), a new program authorized in the IIJA of 2021. Read more.  

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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.

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Government Affairs Update December 2022

gov't updateOregon
The Oregon Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) is proposing amendments to its water quality standards to protect aquatic life in Oregon Administrative Rules OAR-340-041-0002 and OAR-340-041-0101 through OAR-340-041-0340. These rules update and clarify Oregon’s Aquatic Life Use Subcategory designations based on newly available data. DEQ will open the public comment period on the proposed rules in mid-November 2022 until January 6, 2023. DEQ will also hold a public hearing on the proposed rulemaking at 3 p.m. Pacific on Dec. 15, 2022 by webinar/teleconference. To receive updates on this rulemaking, sign up at GovDelivery.

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

  • September 2022: The EPA is proposing to remove 12 chemicals identified as per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) from the current list of inert ingredients approved for use in pesticide products to better protect human health and the environment. READ MORE.
  • 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.

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.