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: 
November 6, 2018
Regulation: 
Revised Definition of "Waters of the United States" (WOTUS)
Proposal: 
October 2018 (Projected)
Final: 
September 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. 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. (RIN 2040-AF75)
Regulation: 
Definition of "Waters of the United States"--Recodification of Preexisting Rule
Proposal: 
July 2017
Final: 
March 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 and is expected to be finalized in April 2018. A proposal date for a new WOTUS definition to replace the Clean Water Rule is scheduled for May 2018. (RIN 2040-AF74)
Regulation: 
Perchlorate
Proposal: 
October 31, 2018 (per consent decree)
Final: 
December 19, 2019 (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. If granted, EPA would have until April 30, 2019 to propose a rule. As of November 6, the courts have yet to make a determination regarding this request. As written in the consent decree, EPA is automatically given an extension of up to 90 days, or until the courts make a ruling. This automatic extension can only be used once. (RIN 2040-AF28)
Regulation: 
Lead and Copper Rule (LCR): Regulatory Revisions
Proposal: 
February 2019 (projected)
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. (RIN 2040-AF15)
Regulation: 
Update to the Regulations for Implementing the Procedural Provisions of the National Environmental Policy Act
Proposal: 
January 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: 
Strengthening Transparency in Regulatory Science
Proposal: 
April 30, 2018
Final: 
January 2020 (Projected)
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. (RIN 2080-AA14)
Regulation: 
Accidental Release Prevention Requirements: Risk Management Programs Under the Clean Air Act; Reconsideration of Amendments
Proposal: 
May 2018
Final: 
January 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. (RIN 2050-AG95)
Regulation: 
Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; Revision of the Regulations for Designating Critical Habitat
Proposal: 
April 2019 (Projected)
Final: 
TBD
Notes: 
Pursuant to the Endangered Species Act of 1973, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service plans to revise the regulations at 50 CFR 424 for the designation of critical habitat to clarify its consideration of the benefits of both including and excluding specific habitat segments in such designations. USFW published a proposal July 2018 and AMWA submitted comments in response September 2018. (RIN 1018-BD84)
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: 
June 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: 
Clean Water Act Hazardous Substances Spill Prevention
Proposal: 
June 2018
Final: 
August 2019 (Projected)
Notes: 
As a result of a consent decree, the EPA issued a proposed rule that addresses the prevention of hazardous substance discharges under section 311(j)(1)(C) of the Clean Water Act (CWA). This section directs the President to issue regulations to prevent discharges of oil and hazardous substances from onshore and offshore facilities, and to contain such discharges.The EPA assessed the consequences of hazardous substance discharges into the nation's waters, and evaluated the costs and benefits of potential preventive regulatory requirements for facilities handling such substances. Based on an analysis of the frequency and impacts of reported CWA hazardous substances discharges and the existing framework of EPA regulatory requirements, the Agency is not proposing additional regulatory requirements at this time. AMWA submitted comments in response to EPA's decision August 2018. (RIN 2050-AG87)
Regulation: 
Effluent Limitations Guidelines and Standards for the Steam Electric Power Generating Point Source Category
Proposal: 
March 2019 (Projected)
Final: 
December 2019 (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. (RIN 2040-AF77)
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: 
Finished Water Storage Facility Inspection Requirements Addendum to the Revised Total Coliform Rule
Proposal: 
December 2019 (projected)
Final: 
TBD
Notes: 
EPA is evaluating options for a potential regulation and/or additional guidance. (RIN 2040-AF37)
Regulation: 
National Primary Drinking Water Regulations: Group Regulation of Carcinogenic Volatile Organic Compound (VOCs)
Proposal: 
November 2022 (projected)
Final: 
December 2023 (projected)
Notes: 
On February 2, 2011, EPA announced plans to develop a single National Drinking Water Regulation (NPDWR) covering up to 16 carcinogenic VOCs. According to the 2018 Unified Agenda, EPA intends to propose a regulation to address carcinogenic VOC contaminants as a group, rather than individually, in order to provide public health protections more quickly and also to allow utilities to more effectively and efficiently plan for improvements. EPA will evaluate the health effects of carcinogenic VOCs, the feasibility of treatment, the affordability of treatment for small systems, and the costs and the benefits (as part of the Health Risk Reduction Cost Analysis). (RIN 2040-AF29)