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ODW Now September 2023
Drinking Water State Revolving Fund Construction Loan and Lead Service Line Loan Cycle
Beginning October 2, 2023, we will accept Drinking Water State Revolving Fund (DWSRF) program applications for the current 2023 Construction Loan and Lead Service Line Loan funding cycle. Applications are due November 30, 2023, at 11:59 p.m. We will review and score applications in December and January. Underwriting begins in late January, with award notification sent by March 2024. We will develop scopes of work and contracts in March and April, with contracts signed by May 2024. Funding is typically released after July 1 of the year the contract is signed.
For standard infrastructure projects or emerging contaminants infrastructure projects, apply for the Construction Loan in the Washington Loan Tracker (WALT). For service line inventory or lead service line replacement projects, apply for the Lead Service Line Loan in WALT. You must contact DWSRF@doh.wa.gov to pre-register for WALT if you have not submitted an application connected to your email address. Additional instructions for successful navigation in WALT can be found in the WALT External User Guide 331-614 (PDF).
We offer webinars on the application process and guidance for project submittal September 20 and October 11, both at 10 a.m., with an additional Question and Answer session scheduled for November 8 at 10 a.m. Microsoft Teams links are listed on our DWSRF webpage. You’ll also find more funding information, including the updated 2023 Construction Loan Guidelines 331-196 (PDF). Please contact Jocelyne Gray for general and technical questions about DWSRF funding.
Emergency Rule Changes
We adopted an emergency rule allowing us to forgive a portion or all of specific DWSRF loan amounts and updated the disadvantaged community definition. Your feedback is vital for us to understand what factors we should consider when identifying disadvantaged communities, please take our short Water System Owner/Operator survey. It takes about ten minutes or less to complete.
We also removed water system plan requirements for systems addressing Lead Service Line identification and replacement and changed certain other ranking and priority ratings. Read the CR-103-E rulemaking order WSR 23-28-044 for specific information. The rule changes were filed and effective August 30, 2023. We sent out a GovDelivery bulletin describing these changes. If you wish to receive the rule announcements, sign up for our Drinking Water Rules email list.
Meet Our New DWSRF Program Manager
Greetings! I am Chris Pettit, the new Drinking Water State Revolving Fund (DWSRF) Manager for the DOH Office of Drinking Water. I am excited to join the DWSRF team, along with Chelsea Cannard, who recently joined us as a Public Health Advisor 3. We are thrilled to have a full team working to ensure efficient and effective funding for vital drinking water projects throughout the state. My background is in watershed management and includes several years working as an attorney in regional water management districts as well as overseeing water and environmental issues, including the water and wastewater utility, in Palm Beach County, Florida.
The DWSRF team implements programs that make infrastructure funding available to drinking water systems. We provide technical assistance and funding to water systems, helping them complete infrastructure projects. These projects protect public health and ensure safe and reliable drinking water for Washington’s people.
We participate in a variety of regional and national committees, present at conferences, and create technical publications. We also collaborate with other agency staff and third-party providers to offer training and technical assistance to Washington’s public water systems. As climate change impacts continue to alter the status quo regarding water resource utilization, we anticipate assisting water purveyors in developing system and operational resiliency to meet these challenges.
I look forward to meeting and working with everyone as we continue to achieve significant results in ensuring clean drinking water for the citizens of Washington.
Meet Our New Field Operations Manager
Hello, my name is Dr. George Onwumere, I am the new Field Operations Manager with the Office of Drinking Water (ODW). I earned a Diploma of Technology in Chemical Engineering from British Columbia Institute of Technology in Vancouver, British Columbia (BC), and two Bachelor of Science degrees—one in Biological Sciences and another in Water Resources Management—from the University of Alberta. Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. Following these achievements, I obtained a Master of Science degree in Bio-Resource Engineering and a Doctor of Philosophy (Ph. D.) in Civil Engineering from the University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC, Canada.
Leveraging my diverse educational background and many years of experience in environmental monitoring with the Quinault Indian Nation (QIN) and Washington State Department of Ecology’s (Ecology) Environmental Assessment Program, I made significant scientific contributions in the field of environmental studies in compliance with the federal Clean Water Act and Safe Drinking Water Act. With QIN, I established their water quality monitoring program to determine how logging practices, the tribal Forest Management Plan, and Non-point Source Management Plan impacted water quality, fishery, shellfish harvesting, and the recreation industries. I reviewed tribal drinking water facility designs and NPDES permits for wastewater treatment plants within tribal usual and accustomed areas.
At Ecology, I started the Total Daily Maximum Load (TMDL) or the Water Cleanup Effectiveness Monitoring Program, supervised three different units—Freshwater Monitoring Unit, Directed Studies Unit, and Watershed Health and Effectiveness Monitoring Unit; and later became the Eastern Operations Section Manager before joining ODW.
I am excited to be part of the ODW Team and I look forward to working with each one of you. As Field Operations Manager, I am responsible for managing the regional offices and field operations of the state’s drinking water program, with responsibility for approximately 4,200 Group A and 13,000 Group B public water systems.
I also teach Applications in Engineering Systems to undergraduate students as an Adjunct Engineering Professor at Heritage University and serve as a member of the Yakima Valley College STEM Advisory Board.
REGISTRATION NOW OPEN!
We are excited to announce that registration for this year’s H2OSecCon event is now open.
This conference is back for a second year and will be held virtually from October 19 - 20. This two-day virtual conference focuses on IT and OT cybersecurity, physical security, and resilience for the water and wastewater sector. Each day begins at 10 AM ET and features water utility and security experts sharing their experiences and best practices across 14 different sessions and panels on two tracks.
Topics will cover items including:
- Physical security threats and solutions facing water and wastewater utilities,
- Securing remote access into your OT network,
- Resources for utilities to improve the preparedness of their employees and communities,
- How to limit physical damage of critical OT assets from a cyber incident or accident, and
- Much more!
Registration is open to WaterISAC members and non-members including all individuals in the water and wastewater sector. Catch the early bird rate through Friday, September 29! WaterISAC members save $150 on registration.
EPA: INCREASE YOUR CYBER RELILIENCE
EPA is launching a cybersecurity newsletter to help water utilities in your efforts to prevent and respond to cyber- attacks. Cyber incidents are steadily growing in frequency as well as the cost of recovery. Check out our website and learn about free tools, training and resources to assist with increasing your cyber resilience. Visit EPA’s Cybersecurity for the Water Sector webpage and check out three resources below.
Cybersecurity Technical Assistance Program
Need help answering questions about cybersecurity? Do you want to speak with a subject matter expert?
Water systems, primacy agencies and technical assistance providers can submit questions and request direct consultation to help address your cybersecurity questions.
Get a Free Cybersecurity Assessment
Request EPA’s Water Sector Cybersecurity Evaluation for a free program that provides direct access to a cybersecurity professional who will conduct a virtual cybersecurity assessment. We will guide you through the assessment process and answer any questions that you may have.
Conduct your own Cyber Assessment with EPA’s Water Cybersecurity Assessment Tool (WCAT)
Use this free tool to perform a self-assessment of cybersecurity practices at your water and/or wastewater utilities using EPA’s cybersecurity checklist. The WCAT will also provide a risk mitigation plan with summarized gaps to help you prioritize your cybersecurity efforts. Download the Excel file WCAT here.
Cybersecurity Awareness Month
October is Cybersecurity Awareness Month and EPA is planning on promoting cybersecurity in a big way! Keep an eye out for more information on all the different events that will take place in October.
CYBERSECURITY TRAINING PILOT PROGRAM
Evergreen Rural Water and NRWA are pleased to tell you about a new pilot program from the Cyber Readiness Institute, providing free cybersecurity training to small and medium-sized water and wastewater utilities to help prevent cyberattacks and build a culture of cyber readiness. Over the course of the next year, this pilot will provide free training to as many as 200 utilities. If you are interested in being selected for this pilot program, please send ERWOW the name and contact information of your system by Wednesday, October 4. Center on Cyber and Technology Innovation.
Infrastructure Assistance Coordinating Council’s Annual Conference
The Infrastructure Assistance Coordinating Council (IACC) annual funding conference in Wenatchee, Washington, October 24-26 at the Coast Hotel. This is your chance to speak directly with funding agencies about how to fund your next project. Find information regarding funding resources here. Conference presentations elaborate on how to effectively maneuver through the consultation application process.
At the conference, attendees will participate in classes that outline nuances and requirements of funding opportunities; learn from participating small communities about how they successfully partnered with funding agencies, challenges they encountered, and talk with your ODW regional planner in person, or request a tech team.
EPA Announces New $19 Million Grant Program to Combat Climate Change Impacts on Drinking Water
For the FY23 Request for Applications (RFA), the program made approximately $19 million in federal funds available. Find out more on EPA’s Drinking Water System Infrastructure Resilience and Sustainability webpage. See details on what types of projects are eligible. parameters for qualified applicants, how to apply, FAQs, and more.
Costs of Water Improvements Tallied
“Water is essential. We rely on it from the moment we wake up in the morning and make a cup of coffee until we brush our teeth at night. While most water infrastructure is hidden from sight, it is foundational to our daily lives.” —EPA.
Last April, EPA released the Seventh Drinking Water Infrastructure Needs Survey and Assessment (DWINSA). This report is used to determine the Drinking Water State Revolving Fund (DWSRF)-eligible infrastructure projects needed over the next 20 years for water systems to continue providing safe drinking water to the public. These projects include infrastructure needs that are eligible for, but not necessarily financed by, the DWSRF. The data guides EPA’s annual distribution of funding to states and informs Congress on our national drinking water needs.
A huge thank you to the utilities who participated in the survey, helping us to assemble data for more than 3700 individual projects!
The 20-year national infrastructure need estimated by the 7th DWINSA is $625 billion. This is a 32 percent increase over the previous DWINSA ($472.6 billion). Washington’s estimated 20-year infrastructure need is $16.3 billion. Our allotment percentage increased from 2.23 percent to 2.29 percent. This translates to a $1.2 million increase in Washington’s DWSRF annual funding.
There’s Still Time to Register for the PFAS Forum 9/19 & 9/20
Register today for the Washington State Department of Health PFAS Conference on September 19 and 20, 2023. We will stream this two-day hybrid conference to the WSU campuses at Puyallup and Spokane.
During this conference, we will learn the latest information on PFAS in Washington. PFAS stands for per and poly-fluoroalkyl substances, or "forever chemicals." We will discuss detailed challenges and solutions for drinking water on day one and wastewater on day two. You don't want to miss hearing from these practitioners sharing their stories! Join us at these two campuses, virtually on Zoom, or in person.
The Zoom Meeting link will be sent to the email you used to register prior to the conference. Drinking water operators earn .5 CEUs (course evaluation number A3308) and wastewater operators earn .6 CEUs (course evaluation number ECY23-3494).
Reliable Repeat: Wildfires and Floods
Our H2Ops March 2016 issue has great information for water systems dealing with a variety of issues that could interrupt service to your customers and cause financial difficulties.
ARE YOU READY?
From broken water lines and bad sample results, to storms and other things that go bump in the night, this edition of H2Ops (March 2016) focuses on the importance of being prepared. Our goal is to get you thinking about what could raise your blood pressure and ruin your day, then start planning ways to minimize the damage.
Could your water system be vulnerable to wildfire, drought, or flood? Would a power outage halt your operations? You can shorten your recovery time and minimize your expenses by signing a reciprocal agreement with nearby water systems. (See the article about WAWARN, page 2.)
Don’t forget that nature doesn’t cause all of our crises. Can you afford to replace your water tower? What would you do if your lead operator left? Could a rule change toss your system out of compliance?
We hope the stories, tips, and resources in this H2Ops March 2016 issue will minimize your grief and help you prepare for worst-case scenarios.
CHECK OUT RESOURCES ON THESE OTHER WEBPAGES
Wildfires and Safe Drinking Water—Prepare, Respond, and Recover. Find links to resources, including WAWARN, help for issuing health advisories, guidance for private well users in your area, and emergency publications for water systems.
EPA’s Incident Action Checklist helps you prepare for and respond to wildfires.
The 2023 Drought webpage has information on steps to take to identify and avoid potential water shortages and other resources, including a Summary of How to Prepare a Water Shortage Response Plan (PDF).
Our Emergency Publications webpage provides links to a variety of helpful publications and our 24-hour emergency hotline.
Update on PFAS Sampling and Responding to a SAL Exceedance
Since the PFAS rule was adopted in 2021, about a third of community and nontransient-noncommunity (NTNC) water system have submitted results. All community and NTNC public water systems will test for PFAS by 2025. We share PFAS results with the public on the Washington Tracking Network (WTN) PFAS map.
The map displays sources and results in colors based on the results, with green dots showing non-detect PFAS, yellow showing detected PFAS below SALs, and dark purple showing detections above the established State Action Levels (SALs) for five PFAS analytes, as shown in the table to the right.
Water system sources with detections of any of the five PFAS with SALs must conduct additional quarterly monitoring based on a ratio of the detected value compared to the SAL, as explained in our publication on PFAS Monitoring and Follow-Up Actions 331-668 (PDF). If water systems confirm PFAS greater than the SAL, they must notify their customers. Community water systems that find any level of PFAS must include the test results in their annual water quality report.
The following table summarizes PFAS sample data from Group A water systems as of the end of August 2023.
So far, about 20 percent of all systems have detections that require at least one additional quarter of monitoring. About 2.5 percent of systems have at least one source that exceeds a SAL. We scheduled sources at potentially greater risk of PFAS contamination earlier in the 2023–2025 compliance period. The percentages of sources with detections and SAL exceedances may decrease slightly from what we currently see. However, some water systems including those with lower risk, are sampling earlier than required.
You have a minimum of 30 days to deliver Public Notice (PN); however, your customers may see your results on the WTN PFAS map before your confirmation results are completed or PN is delivered. You may notice the stars on the map that indicate what action each water system has or is taking to reduce PFAS exposure. While PFAS mitigation or treatment isn’t required by state rules, our regional staff will work with you to communicate any plans you have for PFAS mitigation on the map, consistent with the system’s PN.
This year in May, EPA proposed a federal rule that they expect to finalize by sometime in 2024. The proposed federal rule includes lower maximum contaminant levels (MCL) for PFOA and PFOS, and health-based water concentrations for Gen-X, PFNA, PFHxS, and PFBS, summed as a hazard index, which once final, requires mitigation.
- Systems with detections above a SAL.
- Detection concerns above EPA’s proposed MCLs.
- PFAS mitigation funding.
- Preparation steps you may need to take.
If you're unable to print the newsletter, please contact your regional office and they will print and mail you a copy.
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