Prioritizing Risks in Drinking Water
Council Member Chad Seidel discusses how to prioritize risks in drinking water and address the issues that impact the most amount people first.
EPA Releases Four PFAS Advisories
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released drinking water health advisories for four per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS). We strongly believe that the EPA must issue drinking water health advisories and regulations that align with the Safe Drinking Water Act and are based on the best science to address the greatest risks to public health.
The interim updated health advisories for PFOA and PFOS were issued before the EPA’s Science Advisory Board (SAB) PFAS Panel completed the full review of the toxicity assessments. As a result, the PFOA and PFOS advisory levels are premature and not yet fully substantiated. In rushing its own process, the EPA’s actions run the risk of misleading the public and misallocating limited resources that could be better spent addressing more pressing drinking water risks. Our nation’s drinking water funding must continue to be directed to the areas of greatest public health concern. Communities with high levels of PFOA/PFOS contamination in their drinking water must be immediately addressed, and we commend the EPA for issuing state-specific Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA) funding to address those communities in need.

However, these extremely low health advisory levels are based on limited science and will impact drinking water utilities across the nation, even where PFOA/PFOS may not be a public health concern. With limited financial resources, water utilities must prioritize and address the greatest risks to public health. We urge the EPA to provide clear and actionable direction to water utilities and consider a cost-benefit and risk analysis when determining PFAS regulations.

We will continue to monitor the findings of the EPA’s SAB PFAS Panel review and are committed to providing science-based information to protect public health. Learn more about PFAS on our website resources page: www.wateradvisory.org/pfas.
Water Advisory Insights
Council member Chad Seidel discusses how science-based cost and risk analysis can be used to allocate government funds and resources to the most pressing threats to our nation’s water systems.
Council Statement on the Drinking Water State Revolving Funds
The Water & Health Advisory Council strongly believes that states must have greater leeway over how drinking water revolving fund dollars are spent. States should determine how and where these funds will achieve the public health goals of the SDWA. Drinking water utility managers and water district leaders have the greatest insights on local challenges and must be given the discretion to set priorities within the SDWA’s objectives.
Water News
From emergency climate-induced weather conditions to ongoing aging infrastructure needs, our nation's water supply is at risk. We must prioritize what best protects public health for the greatest number of people.
Bloomberg Law: New PFAS Warnings Put Utility Reputations at Risk, Not Liability

Water utilities are likely to face public relations difficulties following the EPA’s announcement this week of PFAS-related health advisories, water attorneys say, even if legal challenges are less of a concern. Utilities will be challenged to promote the drinking water they provide as safe after the EPA warned that “forever chemicals” may be harmful at levels undetectable in drinking water, since the utilities won’t know if their water exceeds those levels.
Los Angeles Times: Major water cutbacks loom as shrinking Colorado River nears ‘moment of reckoning’
As the West endures another year of unrelenting drought worsened by climate change, the Colorado River’s reservoirs have declined so low that major water cuts will be necessary next year to reduce risks of supplies reaching perilously low levels, a top federal water official said Tuesday. Bureau of Reclamation Commissioner Camille Calimlim Touton said during a Senate hearing in Washington that federal officials now believe protecting “critical levels” at the country’s largest reservoirs — Lake Mead and Lake Powell — will require much larger reductions in water deliveries.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s new warnings about the danger of certain PFAS chemicals to human health are a stepping stone toward the agency’s development of national drinking water standards later this year. The warnings also test the limits of laboratory observation. On June 15, the agency substantially lowered existing health advisories for two of the so-called “forever” chemicals, PFOA and PFOS. The agency also posted first-ever advisories for two additional chemicals, GenX and PFBS. The new interim advisory levels for PFOA and PFOS are almost inconceivably small. So small, in fact, that laboratory methods cannot detect the chemicals in drinking water at these levels: 0.004 parts per trillion for PFOA and 0.02 parts per trillion for PFOS. 
New York Times: California’s water wasters

Tucked into the Santa Monica Mountains, the average home here goes for around $1.8 million, the gardens are bursting with pansies fit for rainy England, and hefty fines have done little to restrain many homeowners from squandering water in a time of drought.
This week came a measure of last resort. The local water agency began choking the taps of the worst offenders, limiting the water flow of those who flouted water conservation rules, paid the fines, and kept on flouting. Their showers will henceforth slow to a trickle. Sprinklers will be rendered unusable.
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