EPA Releases Drinking Water Action Plan
Tuesday, December 6, 2016
Posted by: Floyd Gilzow
In the waning days of the current administration the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has released a 33 page Drinking Water Action Plan built around 6 priorities including one focused on the needs of small communities. The agency quickly admits that they cannot implement the plan alone but say it provides a good roadmap to assist the 150,000 public drinking water systems, 97% of which serve small or economically disadvantaged systems.
EPA has targeted those communities because they believe they lack the operational scale or depth of management expertise to successfully meet future regulatory challenges couple with surveys demonstrating that over 75% of operators will retire in the next 10 years.
The small community portion of the Action Plan calls for expansion of regional networks for worker sharing and capacity building, reinvigorating of the operator certification guidelines, promotion of Best Management Practices, and creation of a one stop shop for loans under the State Revolving Loan Program.
Other priorities include:
· Need for Advance Next Generation Oversight for the Safe Drinking Water Act
· Strengthened Source Water Protection
· Addressing of Unregulated Contaminants
· Enhanced Public Education, and Risk Communication on Drinking Water Safety
· Reducing Lead Risks through the Lead and Copper Rule
Because of the change in Washington leadership, the initiatives are unlikely to be followed unless key players in the new administration see a distinct benefit.