Drinking Water Update: Legislative, Regulatory and Security

J. Alan Roberson
Director of Federal Relations
American Water Works Association

by Michael J. McGuire

On October 11, 2012, Alan Roberson, Director of Federal Relations, American Water Works Association, Government Affairs Office, gave a talk to the Member Agency Water Quality Managers in Los Angeles. In the late 1980s, I actually started this group while I was Director of Water Quality for the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California. Any water quality staff person from an agency or sub-agency of Metropolitan is welcome to attend the meetings and interact with the other managers. It is a great place to learn how to solve real-world water quality problems that colleagues have already encountered.

Once a year, Alan flies out to Los Angeles to brief the managers on the major legislative and regulatory issues facing drinking water utilities. His talk covered five major topics:

  • Presidential election
  • Federal budget
  • National economy
  • Congress and legislation
  • Regulation Update

Under the topic of regulation update, Alan covered these pending regulatory actions:

  • New “lead-free” definition
  • Nitrosamines
  • Long-term Lead-Copper Rule revisions
  • Carcinogenic VOCs (cVOCs)
  • Miscellaneous issues with the Long-Term 2 Enhanced Surface Water Treatment Rule
  • Electronic delivery of Consumer Confidence Reports
  • Hexavalent chromium—new MCL?
  • Fluoride—revised MCLG/MCL?

From my point of view, some of the more important information coming out of the regulatory review included:

  • 2014 deadline for U.S. utilities requiring all pipes, fixtures, etc. be <0.25% lead; in California, we have been dealing with this for years
  • Revision of partial lead service line replacement protocols would be most helpful to lowering lead exposure
  • 1, 2, 3-trichloropropane could cause some concern with compliance among the cVOCs being considered for regulation
  • National monitoring for Cryptosporidium occurrence showed far lower incidence of detection than anticipated

Alan’s conclusions did not offer much hope for easy answers in the future.

  • Congress is a mess right now (and will be in the future)
  • EPA (and AWWA and ASDWA) are very busy with the development of new drinking water regulations and implementation of recent regulations (Even with impending budget issues)
  • Water systems (and communities) with financial and technical limitations will struggle to comply with the drinking water regulations (and other regulations)
  • November election could affect all of the above

About safedrinkingwaterdotcom

McGuire is an environmental engineer and writer. He has worked in the drinking water community for over 50 yrs
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