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: 
October 7, 2019
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: 
July 2019 (Projected)
Final: 
July 2020 (Projected)
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 went to the Office of Management and Budget June 6, 2019. (RIN 2040-AF15)
Regulation: 
Regulatory Determinations for Perfluorooctanoic Acid (PFOA) and Perfluorooctanesulfonic Acid (PFAS)
Proposal: 
December 2019 (Projected)
Final: 
December 2020 (Projected)
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. (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. At a hearing for the U.S. House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology September 19, EPA Administrator Wheeler stated the agency intends to propose a supplemental rule in 2020 and made no mention of a timeline for a final rule. (RIN 2080-AA14)
Regulation: 
Revised Definition of "Waters of the United States" (WOTUS)
Proposal: 
February 14, 2019
Final: 
December 2019 (Projected)
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. 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 (84 FR 4154). The proposal provided a 60-day public comment period, which ended April 15. AMWA submitted comments on the proposal April 12. (RIN 2040-AF75)
Regulation: 
Definition of "Waters of the United States"--Recodification of Preexisting Rule
Proposal: 
July 27, 2017
Final: 
October 2019 (Projected)
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 has not yet made it to the Federal Register. (RIN 2040-AF74)
Regulation: 
Policy for Domestic, Municipal, and Industrial Water Supply Uses of Reservoir Projects Operated by the Department of the Army, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
Proposal: 
December 16, 2016
Final: 
TBD
Notes: 
The Department of the Army, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) is updating and clarifying the policies governing the use of its reservoir projects for domestic, municipal, and industrial water supply pursuant to the Flood Control Act of 1944 section 6, 33 U.S.C. section 708 (section 6), and the Water Supply Act of 1958, 43 U.S.C. section 390(b)(WSA). The proposed rules for the use of storage space in Corps reservoir projects for water supply are being developed to implement section 6 of the Flood Control Act of 1944 and the Water Supply Act of 1958. This revision supports a recommendation of the DoD Regulatory Reform Task Force. AMWA submitted comments to the Corps in May of 2017 in response to the proposal. Assistant Secretary of the Army for Civil Works R.D. James sent a memorandum on September 23 to the commanding general of the USACE directing that USACE halt issuing a final water supply rule for at least six months, in order to “better integrate input from stakeholders.” (RIN 0710-AA72)
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. (RIN 2040-AF55)
Regulation: 
Update to the Regulations for Implementing the Procedural Provisions of the National Environmental Policy Act
Proposal: 
June 2019 (Projected)
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. (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: 
October 2019 (Projected)
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 prerule went to the Office of Management and Budget September 25, 2019. (RIN 2070-AK51)
Regulation: 
Accidental Release Prevention Requirements: Risk Management Programs Under the Clean Air Act; Reconsideration of Amendments
Proposal: 
May 2018
Final: 
August 2019 (Projected)
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. The final rule went to the Office of Management and Budget September 12, 2019. (RIN 2050-AG95)
Regulation: 
Effluent Limitations Guidelines and Standards for the Steam Electric Power Generating Point Source Category
Proposal: 
June 2019 (Projected)
Final: 
August 2020 (Projected)
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 proposed rule went to the Office of Management and Budget August 16, 2019. (RIN 2040-AF77)