Rural Water - Quarter 3, 2008 - (Page 52)

Regulatory Update BY ED THOMAS, NRWA IN THIS ISSUE, we have selected the top four issues we are facing in the nation’s Capitol this year. Each topic has, or may have, the potential to have major impacts on water or wastewater utilities. As the details of these four issues start to become more transparent, we will provide updates as necessary in future regulatory updates. Total coliform rule re-write — The water sector is investing much time and resources into making recommendations to the EPA for potential revisions to the Total Coliform Rule (TCR). The revisions will primarily impact small utilities, although some of the changes such as eliminating the follow up samples the following month after a total coliform positive sample will apply to all systems (community, non-community and transient systems). The Advisory committee responsible for making the recommendations to EPA has been meeting regularly face-toface and in conference calls since July 2007. The committee seems to be leaning toward recommendations consisting of eliminating the MCL violation for total coliform positives and replacing it with a treatment technique. A system would not be in violation of the total coliform rule if they performed some assessment of their treatment plant following a total coliform positive. The content of the assessment would depend on the frequency, severity and type of the positive samples. A major concern of Rural Water is a potential recommendation to increase routine monitoring for small systems but no changes to the large system monitoring requirements (without any data to support the finding that increased monitoring for small CWS increases public health protection). Regardless, the EPA plans to propose a revised TCR based on the committee’s recommendations in 2010, and will finalize the rule in 2011 or 2012. Climate change, global warming and water/wastewater utilities — EPA has released a national strategy for issues facing the water sector regarding climate change. The strategy primarily focuses on research and high-tech tools that may be used by utilities to mitigate against warmer air and water, changes in weather patterns (i.e. flooding and drought) 52 • Third Quarter 2008 and rising sea levels. Further, the strategy places an emphasis on means to establish a baseline and mechanisms to measure progress. We have requested that the Agency consider including an additional goal that would establish a national program to educate and provide hands on assistance to utilities to assist in preparing for and mitigating against the impacts of a changing environment. Rural Water believes such a program is fundamental to the success of the program because we must have a mechanism to share the tools and educate utilities about the impacts that may occur from a changing environment. Outreach, education and increased awareness is pivotal to sharing the information and tools the federal government is planning to complete in their climate change strategy. In a related matter, Senate Bill S. 3036 would set up a research program on how climate change will affect drinking water utilities and direct the EPA to identify solutions to help water and wastewater utilities adapt to the effects of climate change. The bill also provides direction to the agency to provide financial tools for utilities to manage resources and investments, as well as authorization to improve climate change models that could be used to understand how climate change will affect draught or potential flood conditions. The bill may prove to be very important to water systems as well as wastewater systems, particularly in tidal areas that are already feeling the effects of sea level rise. Some utilities in the Chesapeake Bay area have begun to experience frequent sewer flooding problems where tidal flooding seems to have become much more frequent. Those utilities are struggling with how to deal with the problem on a long-term basis. This bill provides some of the resources that may be useful to these types of utilities.

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Rural Water - Quarter 3, 2008

Rural Water - Quarter 3, 2008
From the President
From Hypo to Gas - A Forward Leap
If You Lose All Your Data Today... Would You Still Be in Business Tomorrow?
Weaving the Wireless Web
Rural Water and the Farm Bill
Ensuring Your Water System's Security
Guarding Against Becoming a Victim of Fraud
10 Ways to Improve Utility Efficiency
New Technology
Making a Difference By Being Involved
Regulatory Update
Source Water Protection Corner
Throwing My Loop
Cub Scouts Visit Alliance of Indiana Rural Water's Spring Conference
Index to Advertisers
From the CEO

Rural Water - Quarter 3, 2008