Last year, Water & Wastes Digest (WWD) asked associations throughout the industry to share a small brief forecasting the upcoming year. Those briefs highlighted each association’s focus of year, the regulations and legislation they had at the top of their minds, and what that could mean for the future of the industry.
The coronavirus pandemic changed and shifted all of that by bringing to the forefront of the industry conversations on water access, water equity and water affordability. Discussions on diversity and inclusion were propelled even further following the death of George Floyd. And, of course, the 2020 Presidential Election is likely to have a profound effect on the future of the water industry as well.
The following association forecasts were submitted to WWD in the days immediately following the election, and as such, they have an air of uncertainty about them. They do, however, note some of the legislative and regulatory agendas that — regardless of presidential administration — that will play a critical role in the industry in 2021. And, of course, the coronavirus is still an ever-present force imposing itself on travel, in-person business meetings, and other work conducted throughout the industry.
WWD staff hopes the words from these associations will provide some bullet points and guidance as you navigate 2021.
Raise a Glass to Drinking Water Quality
By Chris Moody, M.Eng, P.E.
AWWA Regulatory Technical Manager
Last year Tracy Mehan and I wrote a regulatory forecast for drinking water in 2020, which included predictions of continued work to address per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), a final decision on perchlorate, and a continued effort to finalize the lead and copper rule (LCR).
Despite an active deregulation agenda, and a global pandemic, the U.S. EPA maintained the course. In 2020, EPA withdrew the determination for perchlorate, proposed a determination for perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) and perfluorooctanesulfonic acid (PFOS), and continued the process of finalizing the LCR revisions. As the new year begins with a new administration forthcoming, the EPA and the Biden Administration are expected to continue efforts to enhance drinking water quality protection. Such efforts will include focus on PFAS, microbials and disinfection byproducts (M/DBPs), and the implementation of recent rules.
Since the publication of the PFAS Action Plan, EPA has taken a wide variety of actions to conduct research, develop analytical methods, and to address contamination in the environment and drinking water supplies. This year, EPA will continue work to evaluate drinking water standards for PFOA and PFOS and will work towards finalizing the Fifth Unregulated Contaminant Monitoring Rule to require monitoring from 2023 to 2025, aiding future decision making efforts for PFAS. The designation of PFAS as hazardous substances under Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and…
Read more:: 2021 Association Forecast for the Water Industry