What will a new administration at EPA prioritize for the water sector?
Along with a change in White House Administrations and a new congressional session in 2021, there will be a new federal U.S. EPA administrator leading the agency. EPA promulgates regulations impacting the drinking water treatment and filtration industry, such as the Safe Drinking Water Act, Lead and Copper Rule and National Primary Drinking Water Regulations. President Joe Biden announced he will nominate Michael S. Regan, North Carolina’s current Secretary of Environmental Quality, to lead the EPA. Reporting indicates that in the upcoming months and years the EPA will be finalizing the Lead and Copper Rule revisions; reviewing per- and polyfluoroalkyl substance (PFAS) chemicals for potential regulatory action; and prioritizing initiatives to address disadvantaged communities and climate change.
Potential for PFAS MCLs
Ahead of the change in administrations in 2020, PFOA and PFOS were included in an EPA proposal for regulatory determination and the EPA’s PFAS Action Plan called out the use of in-home point-of-use (POU) and point-of-entry (POE) water filters if residents find PFAS in their drinking water. To continue along the path to establish maximum contaminant levels for PFOA and PFOS in drinking water, on Jan. 14th 2021, the EPA issued an advance notice of proposed rule making to collect public comment and data, which will assist the agency’s evaluation of these specific PFAS compounds.
When assessing other unregulated contaminants, Regan will be able to review data from the Fourth Unregulated Contaminant Monitoring Rule (UCMR 4). The UCMR requires monitoring and data reports to the federal EPA by public water systems on 30 unregulated contaminants selected by the agency. The UCMR 4 monitoring cycle was between 2018 and 2020, which means there is new nationwide information the agency can consider when looking at regulatory determination of new contaminants to be added to the National Primary Drinking Water Regulations under the Safe Drinking Water Act. The reported data from the UCMR 4 is also publicly available and can be accessed on the EPA Fourth Unregulated Contaminant Monitoring Rule webpage.
Lead & Copper Rule Revisions
At the end of last year, EPA presented its final version of the Lead and Copper Rule revisions. It was published in the federal register Jan. 15, 2021. However, the effective date for the new rule was listed as March 16, 2021. Because it was not effective prior to Jan. 20th, the rule was caught up in a freeze on new regulations by the Biden Administration to allow the new administration time to take another look at the revisions. During the past public comment period, there was been pushback on the lead action level remaining at 15 parts per billion. Continued inclusion of provisions in the revised rule impacting the drinking water treatment and filtration industry are allowing community water systems serving…