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EPA Finally Has an Action Plan to Improve Water Infrastructure and Sanitation for US Tribes

Hoping to step up the federal government’s response to long-standing water issues facing Native American communities, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency released an “action plan” earlier this month that will seek solutions to the many barriers tribes have to running water and wastewater services.

The plan will guide the EPA Office of Water as it works with federally recognized tribes to implement the plan, which was prepared with input from the National Tribal Water Council, an EPA-funded advisory group. Priorities include the creation of federal baseline water-quality standards under the Clean Water Act.

EPA Unveils Strategy to Regulate Toxic ‘Forever Chemicals’

The Defense Department said it is moving to assess and clean up PFAS-contaminated sites throughout the country, while the Food and Drug Administration will expand testing of the food supply to estimate Americans’ exposure to PFAS from food. And the Agriculture Department will boost efforts to prevent and address PFAS contamination in food.

The plan is intended to restrict PFAS from being released into the environment, accelerate cleanup of PFAS-contaminated sites such as military bases and increase investments in research to learn more about where PFAS are found and how their spread can be prevented.

Biden Aims to Remove All Lead Pipes. Will EPA Follow Suit?

President Biden has made a push to remove the nation’s lead pipelines a cornerstone of his infrastructure agenda, but a requirement to make that happen is noticeably MIA in EPA’s current rule.

Advocates hope that changes.

“If EPA doesn’t require them to do it, our concern is that, frankly, utilities have had decades to replace their lead service lines or even to identify their lead services lines,” said Erik Olson, head of the Natural Resources Defense Council’s health program. “The ball has been in their courts for decades, and they’ve not done what’s needed.”

Mayor, EPA Chief Celebrate First Phase of San Diego’s Drought-Resistant Water Recycling Project

Mayor Todd Gloria, along with state and federal leaders, formally kicked off construction of Phase 1 of the city’s Pure Water program August 20. The project is intended to provide nearly 50% of the city’s drinking water by 2035 and reduce the need for imported water.

Helping the mayor celebrate the historic occasion in University City were Rep. Scott Peters, California Senate President Pro Tempore Toni G. Atkins, Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Michael S. Regan and California State Water Resources Control Board Chair E. Joaquin Esquivel.

Biden Moves to Blunt Trump Water Permitting Rule

EPA today laid out a path for states and tribes to take more time to negotiate and tackle challenges before signing off on water permits — an attempt to defang a controversial Trump-era rule that allows only a year to approve or deny permits for utilities and oil and gas pipelines.

Sources say the move is an attempt by the Biden administration to mitigate the adverse effects of the Trump water rule finalized last year that’s still on the books while showing sensitivity to advocates fighting the proliferation of fossil fuel projects.

Pure Water San Diego-EPA loan-August 2021-water recycling-Phase 1-potable reuse

Mayor, EPA Chief Celebrate First Phase of San Diego’s Drought-Resistant Water Recycling Project

Mayor Todd Gloria, along with state and federal leaders, formally kicked off construction of Phase 1 of the city’s Pure Water program August 20. The project is intended to provide nearly 50% of the city’s drinking water by 2035 and reduce the need for imported water.

Helping the mayor celebrate the historic occasion in University City were Rep. Scott Peters, California Senate President Pro Tempore Toni G. Atkins, Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Michael S. Regan and California State Water Resources Control Board Chair E. Joaquin Esquivel.

Water recycling project

“Today, we celebrated the launch of the largest, most ambitious infrastructure project in San Diego’s history,” said Gloria. “The Pure Water program will guarantee us a local water resource that allows San Diego to be drought-resilient and environmentally sustainable. This is a key part of how we will provide clean drinking water to our residents for generations to come.”

Two Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act loans from the EPA are providing funding for up to $733.5 million toward the program’s Phase I projects. Additional funding for the construction of the project will come from Clean Water and Drinking Water State Revolving Fund loans in the amount of $665.1 million, and more than $80 million in federal and state grants, which do not need to be repaid.

The city will also receive a $340 credit from the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California for every acre-foot — enough water to supply up to four households for a year — produced for 25 years. This corresponds to a credit of $285.6 million over the life of the agreement, project leaders said.

Read the complete story from Times of San Diego here: https://bit.ly/3zgns1q

Pure Water San Diego is one of three potable water reuse or recycling projects under development in the San Diego region. The City of Oceanside is working toward creating 50% of its water supply locally, including Pure Water Oceanside, by 2030.

The East County Advanced Water Purification project would recycle 15 million gallons of annual wastewater discharge into drinking water, meeting 30% of the demand for potable water in East San Diego County.

(Editor’s note: The City of San Diego is one of the San Diego County Water Authority’s 24 member agencies that deliver water across the metropolitan San Diego region.)

EPA Considers Projects To Fix Cross-Border Pollution Flows

Federal officials are getting closer to identifying how they plan to control persistent cross-border sewage flows which routinely foul the San Diego ocean.

They talked publicly on Friday about ongoing efforts to fix a persistent problem, sewage coming from Tijuana which fouls a sensitive estuary in the United States and also contaminates the ocean.

Little Action on Border Sewage Crisis Since $300M Announcement

Rain fell on San Diego Monday. It wasn’t a lot of rain – an Accuweather forecast called for “a brief morning shower or two” with an anticipated rainfall of 0.01 inches.

But it was enough to prompt a beach closure at the Tijuana Slough, just south of Imperial Beach. That section of the beach is closed whenever the Tijuana River is flowing.

Cross-border sewage spills have been an issue in South County for decades.

AP Interview: EPA Water Chief On Clean Water Protections

To finally determine a lasting definition of waterways that qualify for federal protection under the Clean Water Act, the Environmental Protection Agency’s new water director says everyone with a stake in the issue will need to be engaged.

Radhika Fox recently spoke to The Associated Press about the Biden administration’s plan to rewrite the regulation, also called Waters of the United States. The contentious rule was scaled back by the Trump administration after being expanded under President Barack Obama.

EPA’s Top Water Official On Biden’s Climate, Equity Goals

Radhika Fox vividly remembers growing up in rural India without running water or flushing toilets.

The newly confirmed head of EPA’s Office of Water lived with her grandmother while her parents finished their medical training in New York City.