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NACWA’s Water Quality Committee Meets Virtually; Recording Available

May 12, 2021

NACWA’s Water Quality Committee met virtually last week and discussed a variety of issues including wastewater based-epidemiology, PFAS, and activity in the environmental justice landscape.

The Committee invited EPA’s Director of Health and Ecological Criteria, Betsy Behl, to provide key water quality criteria updates including the expected release of the final Ambient Water Quality Criteria Recommendations for Lakes and Reservoirs later this summer and its accompanying draft technical implementation guidance that may be ready as early as next month for public comment.

EPA has published a resource for stakeholders developing nutrient criteria, N-STEPs Online, and a new primer for conducting user perception surveys on water quality pollution, and is working to update the aquatic life criteria for chlorides using an ion based approach rather than the earlier proposed specific conductivity approach that was retracted. The Agency is also updating and simplifying a modelling effort that will predict the bioavailability and toxicity for metals (specifically cobalt, lead, zinc and nickel), and is closely working on developing coliphage water quality criteria that relies on modelling quantitative microbial risk with an expected draft in 2022.

In addition to Ms. Behl’s updates, the committee was briefed on an expanding initiative, the Soil and Water Outcomes Fund, by Adam Kiel, the Executive Vice President of AgOutcomes, Inc. Mr. Kiel discussed innovative ways to get point and non-point sources collaborating as well as making funding and financing work in tandem in terms of purchasing and credits. This effort has proven outcomes in Iowa, and the Soil and Water Outcomes Fund is looking to expand this approach to other parts of the country.

The Committee also discussed emerging PFAS issues nationally, like EPA’s new PFAS Council that was formed on April 27, 2021. As EPA works to identify recommendations within 100 days, NACWA is preparing a letter highlighting the work our members are doing to identify sources of PFAS through the industrial pretreatment program and reiterating the challenges our members face as passive receivers of PFAS. If members have thoughts to contribute, please contact Emily Remmel.

A recording is available for members that were unable to join us last week. Please email Emily Remmel for more information and access to the recording.

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