FRWA eNews
January 4, 2021
Florida Rural Water Association
2970 Wellington Circle
Tallahassee FL 32309
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B/C/D DW Certification Review/Lake City
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2021 - Here's to a "Return to Normal" Wish!
FRWA would like to thank all the essential and dedicated water and wastewater operators who have truly made a difference in 2020. After all, safe water and clean wastewater treatment are vital to a community's health. Our hat is off to you and your exemplary service.  We are looking forward to seeing what will be accomplished in 2021!
Public Water Utilities Successfully Provide the Most Essential Welfare Service During Pandemic
Every One of the 49,852 U.S. Local Communities with Public Water Utilities Successfully Provided the Public with the Most Essential Public Welfare Service, Water, for the Duration of the 2020 Pandemic Because It Is Their Mission and Purpose: The most significant and completely unreported water news story of 2020 is that it was local governments, and not the federal government, that successfully provided their public with essential drinking and sewer water service during the 2020 pandemic because they care about their fellow citizens, are directly accountable to their local citizenry, and only exist to carry out the public's interests.

The country's locally governed public drinking water systems have the primary responsibility of supplying the public with safe drinking water and sewer service every second of every day. Safe drinking water and sanitation are generally recognized as the most essential necessities to public health and welfare, concepts which only became more axiomatic during the pandemic.

The 10th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution states, "The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people." The American system of federalism entrusts this responsibility to local governments because they are most responsive to the local public's interests; it allows the very people affected by a policy to decide that policy.

The alternative to democratic federalism is to have policy judgments made for people on their behalf. In addition to being undemocratic, this results in cynicism because it neglects the necessary community support for regulation and opportunity for political accountability. Sustainable environmental policy requires that the people affected by the policy take responsibility for crafting it with the knowledge that they will ultimately have to pay for it. To provide safe drinking water to the public, local governments must make an infinite number of unique decisions concerning operations, treatment/disinfection, safety/purity, management, financing, distribution, and emergency supply to ensure the safety and reliability of the public service. Every day, someone who works for the local community is making second-to-second decisions about adding essential purifying chemicals, killing pathogens, watching for changes in complex water delivery systems, and keeping the public's drinking water safe as an instrument of the public interest. Implicit in these government decisions is the need to balance the public's ability to afford the service and the cost of providing the service.  more
National News
U.S. Supreme Court set to hear Florida-Georgia water battle After years of battling between Florida and Georgia, the U.S. Supreme Court next month will again take up a dispute about water in a river system that links the two states. more

Advisory: CDC Resources on COVID-19 Variant Recently Confirmed in U.S.  The first reported U.S. case of the COVID-19 variant that's been seen in the United Kingdom has been discovered in Colorado, Gov. Jared Polis announced Tuesday, adding urgency to efforts to vaccinate Americans. more

Latest CISA Central Quick Sheet: SolarWinds  Read the latest CISA Central Quick Sheet: SolarWinds.  more

New Tool Projects High-Tide Flooding In U.S. Coastal Locations A new tool to help decision makers and others assess how sea-level rise and other factors will affect the frequency of high-tide flooding in U.S. coastal locations in the next 50-100 years has been developed by University of Hawai'i Sea Level Center Director Phil Thompson with funding from NASA's Earth Science Division.  more

EPA Releases Final Lead and Copper Rule Revisions (LCRR) On December 22, the EPA Administrator announced the new rule which is very consistent with the proposed rule. more

OMB Starts Review of Regulatory Determinations for PFOA and PFOS With all of the publicity surrounding the publication of the final Lead and Copper Rule Revisions (LCRR), the posting of the Office of Management and Budget's (OMB's) review of "Regulatory more

Congress Passes FY21 Spending and COVID Relief Package  Both chambers of Congress have passed the $1.4 trillion spending bill for fiscal year 2021 as well as the $900 billion COVID-19 relief bill. more

EPA Releases Interim PFAS Disposal Guidance for Public Comment EPA has released its "Interim Guidance on Destroying and Disposing of Certain PFAS and PFAS-Containing Materials," and has now met the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) requirement  more

U.S. Cyber Agency - SolarWinds Attack Hitting Local Government A U.S. cybersecurity agency said Wednesday that the far-reaching attack into the IT management company SolarWinds discovered earlier this month has infected more systems than previously thought. more
State News
Crippled Apalachicola River Leaves Wetland Forests In Peril, Famous Oysters Extinct | WUSF  The cause of the decline and death of the Apalach is far more complex than just climate change.  more

St. Augustine, Florida Says Wastewater Workers Vaccination Should be Prioritized St. Augustine hopes water treatment plant workers are prioritized for COVID-19 vaccine. more

DeSantis at Biscayne Bay, announces Environmental Projects | South Dade News Leader Gov. Ron DeSantis on Monday backed a controversial reservoir being built in the Everglades while announcing the state will use a pool of environmental money to help Miami-Dade County protect Biscayne Bay from continued degradation. more 

Cities vary in efforts to secure flood insurance discounts  'Millions Left On The Table': How Cities Can Help Trim Rising Flood Insurance Rates.  more
This Week in Water History

Influenza Pandemic

December 28, 1918: Municipal Journal article-To Investigate Cost of Influenza. "Harrisburg, Pa.-An investigation is to be conducted by the state department of health into the cost of the epidemic of influenza, which has taken 47,000 lives. Dr. B. Franklin Royer, acting state health commissioner, has announced that every phase of the social and economic cost of the disease will be surveyed. Doctor Royer has sent letters to men and women in charge of the work of fighting the epidemic in various parts of the state and asked that the information desired be returned at once to the department. 'Professor J. P. Lichtenberger, of the Wharton School of Finance, of the University of Pennsylvania' he said, 'has been engaged by the department to undertake this work, and a large corps of clerks, stenographers and other officers of the state department of health have been designated to cooperate in gathering the data....'" 

Commentary: In the midst of a national construction push for more filtration plants, the U.S. was devastated by the influenza pandemic. It has been estimated that 500,000 to 675,000 people died in the U.S. alone and 20 to 50 million people worldwide.

2020 Update: I would never have guessed that 102 years after this article, the world would be in the grip of a raging viral pandemic. As of this date in 2020 in the US, deaths from Covid-19 are expected to reach over 470,000 by March 1, 2021. Vaccines are on the horizon but hundreds of thousands of lives could be saved if only people would wear masks, socially distance and stay home. Tragic beyond belief.

For more articles on what went on this week in water history, click here.
Florida Rural Water Association | |
2970 Wellington Circle
Tallahassee FL 32309