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
- 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