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ODW Now January 2024

Printable PDF copy (PDF)

A Life Well-Lived

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Steve Hulsman self-portrait wearing a bicycle helmet on a mountain road.

It is with a heavy heart and profound sadness that we share the difficult news that our colleague, Steve Hulsman, passed away Thursday, December 21, 2023, due to a tragic accident. Steve was an avid cyclist and was hit by a car near his West Seattle home. His friends in the cycling community helped provide information in this article on the Seattle Bike Blog.

Many of you worked directly with Steve over the last 38 years in his role as the Source (Chemical) Monitoring Program Manager for the Northwest Regional Office. His deep passion for his work and safe drinking water was felt by all. Steve was always so eager to share with others his passion, expertise, and commitment to good science.

Above all else, Steve appreciated his colleagues. Even when differing opinions arose, he always expressed gratitude for the chance to engage in discussions. Steve always said, “there is never a dull day” in public health, and he appreciated the “job security” of ongoing challenges.

This news is heartbreaking and difficult to process. 

Although Steve is no longer with us, he would wish his legacy of customer service and professionalism to continue. It will take some time.

If your issue is routine (or you have questions about your Water Quality Monitoring Schedule), please email nwro.chemicalmonitoring@doh.wa.gov or contact our NW Regional Office Main Line at 253-395-6750 and we’ll get back to you as soon as we can. If your issue is urgent, please contact Derek Pell at derek.pell@doh.wa.gov or 253-395-6768.

As Steve would say, “take good care.” 

Notice to Certified Operators

You still have time to renew your certifications for 2024! Go to the Washington Certification Services (WCS) webpage NOW to:

  1. Pay your annual renewal fee and get a new validation card.
  2. Verify and update your contact information.
  3. Check your professional growth report.

The renewal deadline is Thursday, February 29 and any non-renewed certifications will expire Friday, March 1. Because of our late start to the renewal process, we will not apply any late fees this cycle. 

Thank you for protecting public health and our infrastructure investments. 

Introducing...

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Photo of Marcus Goodman in the outdoors.

Greetings! My Name is Marcus Goodman, I am the new Eastern Regional Office (ERO) Operations Manager. I’m excited to join ODW and the Spokane-based ERO team. I have a Bachelor of Science degree from the Evergreen State College, and come from City of Olympia, where I served for over twenty years. During that time, I had opportunities to learn and grow in a variety of roles, such as Construction Inspector/Manager, Civil Engineering Plans Examiner, Senior Program Specialist, Operations Supervisor, and Environmental Services Supervisor. I’ve participated in large scale drinking water, wastewater, stormwater, and transportation projects.

I’m proud to have been a part of many City of Olympia projects. One that stands out is my vision to plan, develop, and implement a data-based asset management program for two utilities. This effort included development of the schema and structure for field-based data collection mobile applications, and an integrated service request, inspection, work order, labor, equipment, and materials platform that brought asset management for those utilities into the twenty-first century. It was a rich experience leading a team through the transition from analog to digital workflows and asset management (and have that vision supported!). I‘m grateful City of Olympia staff supported my passionate stewarding of the resources entrusted to me. I look forward to continuing that passion with ERO for years to come.

I am excited to serve as a part of the ODW team and working with you in my new role. My responsibilities include overseeing the implementation of the State Board of Health Drinking Water Regulations, and the National Primary Drinking Water Regulations for a twenty-county area in central and eastern Washington. This work includes Water Quality, Engineering, Planning, Sanitary Surveys, Compliance and Enforcement, and Facility and Plant Data Management Programs. Please don’t hesitate to introduce yourself as we work together to ensure safe and reliable drinking water for the people and visitors of Washington! 

New PFAS Video

Short Term Solutions: How to Select a POU Water Filter or Bottled Water

The fourth video in our PFAS Basics series (linked above) is now on our PFAS webpage. It outlines the differences between available filters for your home and how to decide which option is best for your home’s needs. The video also explains and links to our two fact sheets on PFAS filters:

Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) are a large family of human-made chemicals in use since the 1950s to make a wide variety of stain-resistant, water-resistant, and non-stick consumer products. Find out more on our PFAS webpage

EPA: Inventory Sites with the Potential to Release Contaminants to Drinking Water Sources

EPA released a report to assist drinking water systems in conducting a source water contamination threat inventory (SWCTI). An SWCTI is an actionable and detailed assessment of potential sources of contamination that can be an important element of a Source Water Assessment or a Risk and Resilience Assessment. EPA requires that water systems update both every five years under America’s Water Infrastructure Act (AWIA). Under WAC 246-290-135 (Section 3-c iii), public water systems using groundwater must have a wellhead protection program including an inventory of all known and potential groundwater contamination sources located within your defined Wellhead Protection Areas. Water systems must update this inventory every two years.

The EPA report presents the methodology and findings from a SWCTI across ten states, evaluating the accessibility and usefulness of a wide range of state and federal databases. EPA’s analysis determined that the most complete and useful data source for conducting an SWCTI is Tier II chemical inventory data collected under the Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act (EPCRA). This chemical inventory data is now available to community water systems due to provisions in AWIA. Tier II reports must be sent to Local Emergency Planning Committees in Washington and coordinating with your local emergency responders, including notifying them of the Wellhead Protection Areas and the latest inventory is required under WAC 246-290-135.

EPA’s report recommends that public water systems take advantage of state and federal data resources, including Tier II chemical inventory data, to develop a potential contamination source inventory for their unique source water area and to better prepare for potential releases to sources of drinking water.
To learn more, download the full online EPA report.  

Note: this report is a companion to the 2021 report Occurrence of Releases with the Potential to Impact Sources of Drinking Water

Proposed Lead and Copper Rule Improvement Out for Public Comment

On November 30, 2023, the federal Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced the proposed Lead and Copper Rule Improvements (LCRI). Comments on the proposed rule must be received by EPA on or before February 5, 2024. Here’s a link for instructions on how to submit comments.

While this rule updates the Lead and Copper Rule Revisions (LCRR), it does NOT impact the LCRR’s requirement to submit a lead service line inventory by October 16, 2024. 

Our staff are reviewing the proposed rule and drafting comments for EPA’s consideration. Some of the draft rule highlights include:

  • Lowering the lead action level to 10ppb and eliminating lead trigger level.
  • Delaying comply-by dates with many of the LCRR requirements, except service lead line inventory (LSI), Tier 1 public notice for lead action level exceedances, and public education to customers with identified served by a lead service line or an unknown service line. The LCRR requires all community and non-transient non-community water systems to submit a lead service line inventory by October 16, 2024.
  • Requiring all lead service lines to be replaced within ten years and regular LSI updates.
  • Requiring both first and fifth liter tap samples at sampling locations with lead service lines (LSLs) and using the highest result to calculated action level compliance.
  • Requiring distribution and maintenance of point of use (POU) devices to customers when a system has multiple lead action level exceedances, three occurrences within five years, until system has addressed the issue. 

Available EPA Resources   

Notice: WQMS Offline

We took the Water Quality Monitoring Schedule (WQMS) offline for maintenance. We need to assure that monitoring requirements are calculated accurately and display properly.

If your water system has any type of quarterly monitoring, it will likely continue for the first quarter of 2024. We will notify everyone as soon as the 2024 WQMS is available. 

Drinking Water Advisory Group (DWAG) Next Meeting March 4

We look forward to an informative and interesting meeting March 4, 2024. We would love to see you all there, virtually!

Meetings cover a range of drinking water discussion topics, including general updates, emerging challenges, new rules, policy changes, and budget issues. Anyone working in the drinking water industry is welcome to attend. We hold all our meetings through Microsoft Teams video, so you can join our meeting with your computer, laptop, tablet, or phone from wherever you are. You can make it a group event and get everyone together in a meeting room.

We post the Team links and meeting agenda on our DWAG Meeting webpage. After the meeting we post any handouts or presentations and, within a month, we post the meeting notes.

You can find links to past meeting agendas, notes, and presentations in the Meeting Materials section on the DWAG Meeting webpage.

Do you want to receive advance notice of meetings and their agendas? Join our advisory group email list.

Do you have questions about the advisory group or topics you’d like to discuss? Email Brad Burnham with your ideas. 

Get Your 2024 Drinking Water Week Nominations in TODAY!

Is there a water system you’re proud of? Do you know an outstanding waterworks operator? Nominate them for an award!

Anyone can nominate someone in the drinking water industry for an award, just fill out this nomination form. Some of the categories we use are below. We also adjust categories to fit special situations. We collect nominations November through February 16, 2024. 

  • Above and Beyond. Recognition for going above the normal call of duty and/or to provide assistance to neighboring water systems.
  • Commitment to Excellence. For those who continuously strive for excellence in providing safe and reliable drinking water.
  • Grace Under Pressure/Perseverance Under Adversity. For handling a crisis well or persevering under consistent challenges.
  • Lifetime Achievement. Reserved for those who are retiring.
  • Most Improved. Typically presented to water systems that overcome a bad situation and now provide excellent service.
  • Operator of the Year. To recognize an operator for their dedication and commitment. They also help educate and mentor others in the water industry, lending help and knowledge where needed.
  • Most Innovative. Presented to water operators/systems/organizations that come up with innovative solutions for challenges they face.

Read about Past Drinking Water Week Award Winners (PDF). For ideas about how to celebrate with your community, visit the American Water Works Association website.

Manganese Initiative Introduction

We are modifying our recommendations for public water systems with manganese in their water supply. Prior to recent studies showing negative health effects from high levels of manganese exposure, manganese was considered only an aesthetic concern, causing discoloration and staining. We are using this new information to revise our guidelines. 

  • Water systems with source manganese levels greater than 0.05 mg/L should install and operate manganese removal treatment at the water source. 
  • Systems operating manganese removal treatment should strive to meet a removal goal of less than or equal to 0.02 mg/L at entry point to the distribution system. 
  • Systems with elevated manganese or operating manganese removal treatment should have accurate manganese field testing equipment. 
  • Water systems with manganese levels of 0.3 mg/L or greater should issue public notification to their customers. 

Why is Manganese a Problem?

Manganese is a naturally occurring mineral found in rocks, groundwater, and surface water. Small amounts of manganese are essential nutrients for humans. Our bodies need some manganese to stay healthy, but too much can be harmful, especially to infants. Manganese in water can also stain laundry and create a brownish-black or black stain on toilets, showers, bathtubs, or sinks. Manganese can make water look, smell, or taste bad.

Research worldwide gives us a more complete understanding of how manganese interacts with drinking water systems and its human health impacts. Current research suggests: 

Exposure to manganese above 0.1 mg/L has been associated with increased risks for negative health outcomes for children under five years of age. Too much manganese exposure during infant development can cause learning and behavioral problems.

Manganese builds up in water pipes, potentially resulting in much higher levels of manganese at customer’s taps than are present in the source water.

The buildup of manganese in pipes can absorb other metals that are of health concern, like lead or arsenic. When water quality changes, the build-up of all these contaminants may release rapidly.

Manganese can only be accurately measured by accredited laboratory testing, as it is colorless and odorless in its dissolved state.

We developed several informational publications regarding manganese in drinking water for managers and operators of public water systems and for customers. We also drafted public notification templates to support your water system. 

If your water system sources have manganese above 0.05 mg/L, we encourage you to share this information with your customers and leadership. Additional funding for treatment may be available through our State Revolving Fund.  . 


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