Regulatory Update At-A-Glance

A quick look at major water-related regulations under development at EPA. All comment letters mentioned can be found on the Drinking Water Regulation webpage.

RIN refers to the Regulation Identifier Number assigned by the Regulatory Information Service Center to identify each regulatory action listed in the latest Unified Agenda.

Updated: 
March 2, 2020
Regulation: 
Perchlorate
Proposal: 
June 26, 2019
Final: 
June 19, 2020 (per consent decree)
Notes: 
An October 18, 2016 consent decree set deadlines for EPA to propose and finalize a perchlorate drinking water regulation. On September 15, 2017, two concurrent public notices were issued within the Federal Register by EPA related to EPA’s decision making for perchlorate. The first, Peer Review Materials to Inform the Safe Drinking Water Act Decision Making on Perchlorate, asked for comments on EPA’s draft report on the Maximum Contaminant Level Goal for Perchlorate in Drinking Water. The second request, Interim List of Perchlorate in Drinking Water Expert Peer Reviewers and Draft Peer Review Charge Questions, asked for comments related to the selection of an expert panel to review materials related to EPA’s perchlorate decision making. AMWA submitted comments regarding the peer review charge questions October 2017 and comments on the draft report in November 2017. An External Peer Review Meeting was held January 29 and 30, 2018 for EPA’s Revised BBDR Model and Draft MCLG Approaches Report for Perchlorate in Drinking Water. The consent decree required EPA to propose an MCL for perchlorate by October 31, 2018. EPA filed a motion August 30, 2018 requesting a 90-day extension. This extension was granted December 11 giving EPA until April 30, 2019 to propose a rule. Amidst the ongoing partial government shutdown, a standing order issued on December 27 extended deadlines by “a period of time equal to the number of calendar days between December 21, 2018, and the date the President signs into law a budget appropriation that restores Department of Justice funding.” The partial government shutdown ended January 25, 2019 giving EPA until May 28, 2019 to propose a rule. EPA released the pre-publication for the proposal May 23, 2019 and it was published in the Federal Register June 26. EPA received an extension for the deadline to finalize a rule October 1, 2019 giving them until June 19, 2020. (RIN 2040-AF28)
Regulation: 
Lead and Copper Rule (LCR): Regulatory Revisions
Proposal: 
November 13, 2019
Final: 
TBD
Notes: 
EPA is developing proposed regulatory revisions and supporting materials taking into consideration recommendations of the National Drinking Water Advisory Council (NDWAC) and lessons learned from recent events in Flint, MI. EPA invited AMWA and other associations to a federalism consultation on January 8, 2018 to discuss possible changes to the LCR. AMWA submitted comments March 2018 in response. EPA's "Implementation Status Report for EPA Actions under the December 2018 Federal Action Plan to Reduce Childhood Lead Exposures and Associated Health Impacts (Status Report)" updated the timeline for the LCR proposal to summer of 2019, instead of by February 2019 as was stated in the latest unified agenda. The Spring 2019 Unified Agenda clarified this timeline to July 2019 with a final rule a year later. The LCR proposal pre-publication was released October 10, 2019 and was published in the Federal Register November 13, 2019. AMWA submitted an extension request that same day asking for a 30-day extension. EPA announced a 30-day extension in the Federal Register December 19 and gave the public until February 12, 2020 to comment. AMWA submitted comments in response February 12. (RIN 2040-AF15)
Regulation: 
Regulatory Determinations for Perfluorooctanoic Acid (PFOA) and Perfluorooctanesulfonic Acid (PFAS)
Proposal: 
March 10, 2020
Final: 
TBD (Legal Deadline of January 4, 2021)
Notes: 
The Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA) requires the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to make regulatory determinations on at least five contaminants on the Contaminant Candidate List (CCL). Two contaminants included on CCL 4 are perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) and perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS). The EPA intends to make preliminary regulatory determinations for PFOA and PFOS and other CCL4 contaminants by the end of 2019. Making a preliminary regulatory determination is the next regulatory step in the SDWA, which could result in the Agency establishing a maximum contaminant level for PFOA and PFOS. This is one component laid out in EPA's PFAS Action Plan. At the meeting of the National Drinking Water Advisory Council this past December, agency staff stated it would be released within the first few months of 2020. The notice went to the Office of Management and Budget December 3, 2019. The proposed Fourth Regulatory Determination in which the agency resolved to regulate both PFOA and PFOS was published in the Federal Register March 10, 2020 and gave the public until May 11 to provide comments. AMWA joined with AWWA to ask EPA for a 30-day extension. EPA announced an extension April 30. The public now has until June 10 to provide comment. (RIN: 2040-AF93)
Regulation: 
Strengthening Transparency in Regulatory Science
Proposal: 
April 30, 2018
Final: 
TBD
Notes: 
EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt signed a new proposed rule April 24, 2018, which EPA says will “ensure that the regulatory science underlying Agency actions is fully transparent, and that underlying scientific information is publicly available in a manner sufficient for independent validation.” If promulgated as drafted, the rule will require EPA to clearly identify all studies it relied upon when taking any “final agency action” on regulations, including dose-response data and models, and to make those studies available to the public to the extent feasible. AMWA submitted comments in August of 2018 in response to the proposal. On March 18, EPA published in the Federal Register a supplemental notice of proposed rulemaking, meant to clarify points from the initial proposal. EPA originally gave the public until April 17 to provide comment, but announced a 30-day extension April 17. The comment period now closes May 18. (RIN 2080-AA14)
Regulation: 
Revised Definition of "Waters of the United States" (WOTUS)
Proposal: 
February 14, 2019
Final: 
April 21, 2020
Notes: 
A February 28, 2017 Executive Order directs EPA and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) to review the existing Clean Water Rule (promulgated June 29, 2015) and submit a proposal for rescinding or revising the rule. The agencies plan to accomplish this in two steps. Step 1 involved the agencies re-codifying the regulation that was in place before the implementation of the Clean Water Rule. Under step 2, the agencies proposed a rule to newly define the Waters of the U.S. (WOTUS) and replace the Clean Water Rule altogether. AMWA commented on the original 2015 WOTUS proposal in November 2014. On January 31, 2018 EPA and USACE finalized a new separate rule, which effectively postponed implementation of the Clean Water Rule until 2020. However, this delay was overturned by the courts on August 16, 2018. EPA filed a notice of appeal January 24, 2019, but dismissed the appeal March 8, 2019. Due to some district courts issuing stays on the Clean Water Rule and other courts still reviewing suits, the 2015 rule is now in effect in 26 states. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and EPA published the new Waters of the U.S. (WOTUS) proposed rule in the Federal Register February 14, 2019 (84 FR 4154). The proposal provided a 60-day public comment period, which ended April 15. AMWA submitted comments on the proposal April 12. The final rule, titled the Navigable Waters Protection Rule, was published in the Federal Register April 21, 2020. This new WOTUS definition will go into June 22, 2020 and will replace the “step one” rule. (RIN 2040-AF75)
Regulation: 
Definition of "Waters of the United States"--Recodification of Preexisting Rule
Proposal: 
July 27, 2017
Final: 
October 22, 2019
Notes: 
A February 28, 2017 Executive Order directs EPA and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) to review the existing Clean Water Rule (promulgated June 29, 2015) and submit a proposal for rescinding or revising the rule. The agencies plan to accomplish this in two steps. Step 1 involves the agencies re-codifying the regulation that was in place before the implementation of the Clean Water Rule. Under step 2, the agencies will propose a rule to newly define the Waters of the U.S. (WOTUS) and replace the Clean Water Rule altogether. AMWA commented on the original 2015 WOTUS proposal in November 2014. The plan to re-codify the previous existing rule was proposed on July 27, 2017. EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler and Assistant Secretary of the Army for Civil Works R.D. James signed the final rule for repealing the 2015 WOTUS rule September 12. The final repeal rule was published in the Federal Register October 22, 2019 and took effect December 23, 2019. (RIN 2040-AF74)
Regulation: 
Regulations Implementing Section 1417 of the Safe Drinking Water Act: Prohibition on Use of Lead Pipes, Solder, and Flux
Proposal: 
January 17, 2017
Final: 
December 2019 (projected)
Notes: 
The proposed rule codifying requirements set forth in the 2011 Reduction of Lead in Drinking Water Act was published in the Federal Register on January 17, 2017. EPA proposes to make conforming changes to existing regulations based on the Reduction of Lead in Drinking Water Act (RLDWA) and the Community Fire Safety Act enacted by Congress. The proposed regulation would modify the definition of lead free plumbing products (e.g., pipes, fittings and fixtures) to conform to the statute enacted by Congress that prohibits a lead content level above 0.25%. The proposal also includes labeling requirements that will allow users of these products to identify plumbing devices that meet the new “lead free” definition. Labeling will reduce the likelihood that non-lead free products are used in plumbing that is intended for drinking water use. Additionally, the proposal includes requirements for manufacturers to certify that they are meeting these new requirements. The final rule went to the Office of Management and Budget December 16, 2019. (RIN 2040-AF55)
Regulation: 
Update to the Regulations for Implementing the Procedural Provisions of the National Environmental Policy Act
Proposal: 
January 10, 2020
Final: 
TBD
Notes: 
On August 15, 2017, President Trump issued Executive Order 13807, titled "Establishing Discipline and Accountability in the Environment Review and Permitting Process for Infrastructure.” Section 5(e) of Executive Order 13807 directed the Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) to develop an initial list of actions it will take to enhance and modernize the Federal environmental review and authorization process. CEQ published its initial list of actions in the Federal Register on September 14, 2017, (82 FR 43226) and stated that CEQ intends to review existing CEQ regulations implementing the procedural requirements of the National Environmental Policy Act in order to identify changes needed to update and clarify those regulations. On June 20, 2018, CEQ published an advance notice of proposed rulemaking (ANPRM) requesting public comments on questions related to CEQ’s regulations implementing the procedural requirements of NEPA. AMWA submitted comments in response August 2018. Review of the proposal by the Office of Management and Budget was completed December 20, 2019 and the proposed rule was published in the Federal Register January 10. The public has until March 10, 2020 to provide comment. AMWA, along with AWWA, submitted a request for a 30-day extension to the comment period January 27 but no extension was granted by EPA. AMWA submitted comments March 6, 2020. (RIN 0331-AA03)
Regulation: 
Revisions to the Unregulated Contaminant Monitoring Rule (UCMR 5) for Public Water Systems
Proposal: 
June 2020 (Projected)
Final: 
December 2021 (Projected)
Notes: 
The Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA), as amended in 1996, requires that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) establish a program to monitor not more than 30 unregulated contaminants every five years. EPA published the first Unregulated Contaminant Monitoring Rule (UCMR 1) in the Federal Register on September 17, 1999 (64 FR 50556), the second (UCMR 2) on January 4, 2007 (72 FR 368), the third (UCMR 3) on May 2, 2012 (77 FR 26072), and the fourth (UCMR 4) on December 20, 2016 (81 FR 92666). This action meets the SDWA requirement by establishing the terms for the next cycle of monitoring and identifying the new unregulated contaminants to be monitored during the UCMR 5 period of 2022-2026. (RIN 2040-AF89)
Regulation: 
Addition of Certain Per- and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances (PFAS) to the Toxics Release Inventory
Proposal: 
December 4, 2019
Final: 
TBD
Notes: 
Section 313 of the Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act (EPCRA) created the Toxics Release Inventory (TRI) Program. The TRI Program is a tool EPA may use to understand the releases of Per- and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances (PFAS) by industrial and federal facilities. This information may be helpful to inform decision-making by communities, government agencies, companies and others. Currently, no PFAS chemicals are included on the list of chemicals required to report to TRI; however, the EPA is considering whether to add certain PFAS chemicals. In considering listing, the EPA must determine whether data and information are available to fulfill the statutory listing criteria and the extent and utility of the data that would be gathered. In addition, in considering if TRI will provide useful information to stakeholders, the EPA also will consider if those PFAS are still active in commerce. The process for listing includes notice and comment rulemaking to list PFAS chemicals for reporting prior to adding these chemicals to the TRI for annual reporting. The proposal was published in the Federal Register December 4 and the public was given until February 3 to provide comments. AMWA submitted comments February 3. (RIN 2070-AK51)
Regulation: 
Accidental Release Prevention Requirements: Risk Management Programs Under the Clean Air Act; Reconsideration of Amendments
Proposal: 
May 30, 2018
Final: 
December 19, 2019
Notes: 
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) published in the Federal Register on January 13, 2017, a final rule to amend the Risk Management Program regulations under the Clean Air Act. Prior to the rule becoming effective, EPA received three petitions for reconsideration that raised concerns with provisions of the final rule. EPA subsequently delayed the effective date of the final rule via notice and comment rulemaking to February 19, 2019, in order to conduct a reconsideration proceeding. On May 30, 2018, EPA published proposed changes to the final rule to address specific issues to be reconsidered and other issues that the Agency believes warrant additional public comment. AMWA submitted comments in response August 2018. EPA published the final rule in the Federal Register December 19, 2020. (RIN 2050-AG95)
Regulation: 
Effluent Limitations Guidelines and Standards for the Steam Electric Power Generating Point Source Category
Proposal: 
November 22, 2019
Final: 
TBD
Notes: 
EPA received multiple petitions requesting reconsideration and an administrative stay of provisions of EPA's final rule titled "Effluent Limitations Guidelines and Standards for the Steam Electric Power Generating Point Source Category," (80 FR 67838; November 3, 2015). After considering the petitions, the Administrator decided that it is appropriate and in the public interest to conduct a rulemaking that may result in revisions to the new, more stringent Best Available Technology Economically Achievable effluent limitations and pretreatment standards for existing sources in the 2015 rule that apply to bottom ash transport water and flue gas desulfurization wastewater. EPA does not intend in this rulemaking to revise the BAT effluent limitations or pretreatment standards in the 2015 rule for fly ash transport water, flue gas mercury control wastewater, gasification wastewater, or any of the other requirements in the 2015 rule. AMWA has previously made comments regarding the ELG Guidelines and Standards in 2013. The proposal was published in the Federal Register November 22 and the public comment period closed January 21, 2020. (RIN 2040-AF77)
Regulation: 
Updating Regulations on Water Quality Certification
Proposal: 
August 22, 2019
Final: 
May 2020 (Projected)
Notes: 
Section 401 of the Clean Water Act gives states and authorized tribes the authority to grant, deny, or waive certification of proposed federal licenses or permits that may discharge into waters of the United States. Executive Order 13868, Promoting Energy Infrastructure and Economic Growth, directed the EPA to review and revise existing guidance and regulations to clarify and streamline the section 401 certification process and to promote greater investment in, and certainty for, national energy infrastructure projects. The EPA’s current water quality certification regulations were promulgated in 1971, prior to the 1972 Clean Water Act amendments and the establishment of section 401. The proposed update to the EPA’s certification regulations will modernize the regulations to be consistent with the Clean Water Act, and will provide clarity and certainty for states, tribes, federal agencies, and project proponents. AMWA submitted joint comments with the American Water Works Association in response October 17, 2019. (RIN: 2040-AF86)