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Your Drinking Water A 21st Century Challenge and Solutions


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Title: Your Drinking Water A 21st Century Challenge and Solutions

Your Drinking Water A 21st Century Challenge and
  • J. Alan Roberson, P.E.
  • Director of Security and Regulatory Affairs
  • American Water Works Association

Presentation Outline
  • Drinking Water Basics
  • Water Use Data
  • Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA) Basics
  • Drinking Water Data
  • Water System Inventory Data
  • Violation Data
  • Challenges Ahead
  • Critical Issues Identified by Others
  • AWWA State of Industry Report
  • Possible Solutions

Source USEPA
Drinking Water Basics
  • Approximately 350 billion gallons used per day in
    the U.S.
  • Most used for power generation irrigation
  • Public water supply--42 billion gallons per day
  • 125 to 200 gallons per person per day design
    basis (varies on a regional basis)
  • But only drink about ½ gallon per day
  • Most used for outdoor irrigation
  • Other indoor use (showers, toilets, dishwashers,
    clothes washers, etc.) can be significant
  • Dont forget about fire protection

USGS Water Use Data
Drinking Water Regulatory History
  • 1925 and 1942--U.S. Public Health Service (USPHS)
    adopts standards for coliform, water quality
    parameters, and inorganics (IOCs)
  • 1962--USPHS sets maximum concentrations for 5
    IOCs, 2 organic chemicals, fluoride, and
  • Requirement for qualified operators
  • 1970--U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)
  • 1974--Safe Drinking Water Act passed
  • Shifted from state setting standards based on
    USPHS to national enforceable standards developed
    by EPA

Basic SDWA Regulatory Framework
  • Maximum Contaminant Level Goal (MCLG)
  • Health-based goal based strictly on health
  • …allows for an adequate margin of safety…
  • Maximum Contaminant Level (MCL)
  • Enforceable standard set …as close to the MCLG
    as is feasible…
  • Analytical methods and treatment feasibility
  • Benefit-cost analysis (BCA) an important
  • Treatment Technique (TT) can be used in lieu of a
  • Analytical methods, indicators, surrogates, etc.

SDWA Reg. Framework (cont.)
  • EPA delegates regulatory and enforcement
    authority to states through Public Water Supply
    Supervision (PWSS) Program
  • States have to adopt standard at least as strict
    as the federal standard
  • EPA reviews state regs. if approves, then gives
    states primacy
  • EPA gives to states for their programs thru
    PWSS program
  • States have some discretion in enforcement
  • Informal actions can achieve compliance with less
  • Formality of actions increases with continued
  • How do you measure reg. program effectiveness?
  • Violation data is the only program performance

SDWA History
  • 1974 SDWA increased federal role
  • EPA regulates 23 contaminants from 1974-1986 (not
    really a whole lot)
  • 1986 Safe Drinking Water Act
  • Prescriptive regulatory schedule
  • 83 contaminants to be regulated in first 3 years
  • Additional 25 contaminants every 3 years
  • EPA increased the number of regulations, but had
    difficulties in meeting these schedules
  • Resulted in increased burden to States with
    limited resources pressure to retain primacy

Legislative History Leading to 1996 SDWA
  • Problems with the 1986 SDWA
  • Regulatory schedule very prescriptive
  • EPA missing deadlines
  • Court cases
  • Regulation for the sake of regulation
  • Major risks might not be addressed
  • New regulatory concepts
  • Relative risk reduction
  • Cost-benefit analysis
  • Good science
  • Not everyone can agree with the definition of
    good science

1996 SDWA Amendments
  • 1996 SDWA Amendments fundamentally revised the
    standard-setting process
  • The 3 criteria for identifying potential regs
  • Additional reg. considerations
  • Other major new provisions
  • Drinking Water SRF
  • Source water protection
  • Operation certification
  • Consumer Confidence Report

EPAs 3 SDWA Regulatory Processes from 1996 SDWA
  • Priority regulations (specific deadlines in 1996
  • Microbial/Disinfection By-Product (M/DBP) Cluster
  • Information Collection Rule (ICR), Stage 1 DBPR,
    Interim Enhanced Surface Water Treatment Rule
    (IESWTR), LT1ESWTR, Stage 2 DBPR, and LT2ESWTR
  • Groundwater Rule (GWR)
  • Arsenic
  • Sulfate
  • Radon
  • Filter Backwash

The Last 2 SDWA Regulatory Processes
  • Contaminant Candidate List (CCL)
  • Regulatory determination, then proposal and final
  • Only after positive determination
  • Unregulated contaminant monitoring can be used to
    generate occurrence data
  • Review of existing regulations every six years
    (Six-Year Review)

SDWA and Contaminant Identification
  • EPA Administrator shall determine to regulate a
    contaminant if, based on the best available
  • The contaminant may have an adverse health
  • The contaminant is known or likely to occur with
    a frequency and at levels of public health
    concern and
  • (National) regulation presents a meaningful
    opportunity for health risk reduction

Note that costs are not a part of this
SDWA and Contaminant Regulation
  • Contaminant Candidate List (CCL)
  • First in 1998 and then every 5 years
  • Regulatory Determination (RD)
  • First in 2003 and then every 5 years (at least 5)
  • Determinations regulate, not regulate, issue
    health advisory, needs more research
  • If a determination is made to regulate, then
    proposal 24 months after and final 36 months
    after determination
  • Six-Year Review of existing regulations

CCL/UCMR/RD Decision Sequence/Timeline
Draft CCL
Preliminary Regulatory Determinations (RD)
Public Review and Comment
Final CCL
Draft UCMR
Proposed Rule (NPDWR)
Final Regulatory Determinations (RD)
Final UCMR
UCMR Monitoring Results
Six Year Review of Existing NPDWRs
Final Rule (NPDWR)
No further action or develop health advisory
  • Final CCL1 in 1998
  • 60 contaminants 50 chemicals 10 microbes
  • Developed primarily through expert judgment
  • UCMR1 in 1999
  • 12 chemicals on List 1 for required monitoring
    for systems serving gt10,000 people2001 thru 2003
  • List 2 Screening and List 3 Pre-Screen
  • First Final Regulatory Determination (RD1) in
  • Decided not to regulate 9 CCL1 contaminants

CCL/UCMR/RD History (cont.)
  • Final CCL2 in 2005
  • 51 remaining CCL1 contaminants
  • 60 CCL1 contaminants minus 9 from RD1
  • UCMR2 in 2007
  • 10 chemicals on List 1 for systems serving
  • Monitoring ongoing (2008 to 2010)
  • Draft CCL3 in Feb. 2008
  • 93 chemicals and 11 microbials
  • Final RD2 in July 2008Not regulate 11
  • Proposed perchlorate RD in Oct. 2008

Water System Inventory
  • Public water system defined as having gt15
    connections or serving gt25 people
  • Approximately 155,000 regulated systems
  • Approximately 52,000 community water systems
  • Serve approximately 292 million people

Inventory (cont.)
  • Most large systems use surface water and most
    small systems use groundwater
  • Approximately 80 are municipal and 20 private

Where We Are TodayThe Number of Regulated
MCL and MRDL Violations
2008 MCL and MRDL Violations
The Challenges Ahead
  • Previous work on critical issues
  • Water Research Foundation (formerly AwwaRF)
    project on trends impacting water utilities by Ed
    Means and others
  • Interviews by National Environmental Services
    Center (NESC) by Sandra Fallon
  • 13 interviews, each representing approx. 100
  • Annual report on State of Industry by Steve
    Maxwell of TechKNOWLEDGEy Strategic Group
  • AWWA annual State of the Industry Report

Ten Trends in Foundation Report
  • Population and demographics
  • Politics
  • Regulations
  • Workforce
  • Technology
  • Total water management
  • Customer expectations
  • Utility financial constraints
  • Energy
  • Increased risk profile

Summaries of report in 6 issues of 2005-2006
JAWWA Trends in July 2005 JAWWA
NESC Security Issues
  • Aging Infrastructure (80 of systems facing this
  • Lack of Planning (75)
  • Retiring Operator Workforce (60.7)
  • Natural Disaster (51)
  • Local Vandalism (41)
  • Groundwater Overpumping (19.3)
  • Source Water Contamination (25)
  • Climate Change (22.6)
  • Terrorism (7.3)

From Fall 2008 On Tap
  • Key Drivers
  • Water quality and scarcity problems are reaching
    critical proportions
  • Public awareness and understanding of water
    problems is increasing
  • Regulation and enforcement will continue to
  • Huge economic (and human) capital investments are

TechKNOWLEDGEy Report Trends
  • Increasing regulation and government oversight
  • Dilapidated infrastructure
  • Conservation and efficiency
  • Focus on recycling and reuse
  • Better measurement and monitoring
  • Technological solutions
  • Residential water consumption
  • Surge of investment in water
  • Ownership changes and consolidation
  • Consolidation in the private sector
  • Controversy over privatization and out-sourcing

AWWA State of the Industry Report
  • Comprehensive survey program started in 2004
  • Developed to answer the need of AWWA members for
    information regarding key water industry trends
    and issues identified through the Member Tracking
  • SOI results is presented annually at ACE and more
    detailed information published in The Journals
    October issue
  • Other articles are published in many different
    media based on SOI insights
  • Data from the SOI have been used extensively by
    AWWA to drive fact-based strategic decisions, not
    just intuition
  • SOI Reports are attracting increasing interest
    from others in the trade press, further
    broadening awareness of AWWAs leadership

  • Develop high value insights regarding the key
    issues facing the water industry
  • Identify issues of importance not being
    adequately addressed to raise awareness and bring
    higher industry priority
  • Identify and track important industry trends on a
    going basis
  • Emerging critical issues
  • Utility capital spending

  • 10,000 AWWA key members were mailed surveys in
    early March 2008
  • Over-sample of MAC and Canada to boost returns in
    these important segments
  • Over 1,900 surveys eventually returned
  • Experienced and knowledgeable respondent base
  • 53 have over 20 years experience in the water
  • 53 have a four-year college degree or higher,
    with 30 having a Masters, PhD or other advanced

Overall Industry Soundness
  • Please begin our survey by answering two
    broad questions about how "sound" you believe the
    industry to be. In other words, how do you
    perceive the overall health and vitality of our
    industry from your unique perspective?
  • In your opinion, what is the current overall
    state of the water industry?
  • Not At Very
  • All Sound Sound
  • Looking forward, how sound will the overall water
    industry be five years from now?
  • Not At Very
  • All Sound Sound

  • Next, respondents were asked to describe in their
    own words critical issues that are
  • Facing the industry in the next 1-2 years (near
  • Facing the industry in the next 3-5 years (long
  • Inadequately addressed
  • Then a wide range of scaled questions regarding
    specifically named issues, opinions and

Summary of Findings
  • Slow but steady decline in future soundness of
    the water industry
  • For the first time, future soundness rated lower
    than current soundness
  • Related in part to a spike in Source Water
    concerns regarding pharmaceuticals in water
  • Mounting concerns about sufficient availability
    of treatable water contributed
  • Infrastructure decay, financing infrastructure
    repair and regulatory compliance, and workforce
    issues continue to wear on future optimism
  • Since the study was in the field in March/April
    2008, the current economic turmoil is not
    reflected in the data

  • AWWA should lead the way to develop research that
    helps manage emerging contaminant issues,
    particularly regarding understanding of true
    effects on health of emerging contaminants
  • Address Source Water Supply issues
  • Source water protection
  • Sustainable sourcing to meet shifting/growing
  • Water rights and planning for large geographies
  • (e.g., how are the Great Lakes to be used as
    potable water resources in the future)

  • Awareness of the ticking time bomb of the
    declining infrastructure is viewed as being more
    apparent to industry insiders than stakeholders
    who control funding to rehabilitate and update
    the infrastructure
  • AWWA should bring sound information to the
    political arena to overcome the out of sight,
    out of mind status quo
  • Promote technology that helps assess underground
    infrastructure conditions as well as more
    cost-effective and long-lasting rehab solutions
  • Bring balance to the funding picture for
    infrastructure vs. regulatory compliance

  • AWWA should continue to help utilities bring back
    into balance the gap between the cost and rates
  • Smaller systems seem to need even more attention
    and tools due to their lower economies of scale
    and more scarce access to resources (monetary and

  • Workforce concerns continue to grow require
  • The major action steps include
  • Helping utilities manage the brain-drain
  • Elevate the prestige of water industry careers,
    and help bring salaries in line (or close the
    gap) versus competing industries - tap into the
    idea of Public Service
  • Help utilities develop retention strategies
    (including but in addition to higher salaries)
    for valued workers who are being attracted to
    other industries

  • Though Security concerns have declined there is a
    vocal minority advising continued vigilance and
  • Key areas include
  • Security of process chemicals (like chlorine)
  • Real-time monitoring of water safety in
  • Emergency preparedness related to non-terrorist
    events (especially natural disasters)

  • Water treatment concerns were highly linked to
    source water protection
  • Emerging Contaminant Mitigation
  • Science to understand what treatments are truly
    required to keep water safe
  • Technology to cost-effectively treat these now
    known contaminants and those yet but soon to be
    discovered and publicized

While current soundness ratings have flattened,
for the first time the industry is concerned the
future will not be as sound as today.
Source Water Issues soured to the 1 issue Near
Term, Longer Term and Most Inadequately
Addressed. Business Factors and Infrastructure
continue to be important and inadequately
addressed as well. Source Water, Infrastructure
and Workforce issues in particular are thought
even more concerning longer term.
In the short term (next 1-2 years) Source Water
concerns soared. This traces in part to
publicity about drugs in the water supply that
hit while the survey was in the field. But it
does follow the prior year trend and is also
driven by heightened concerns future supply will
not meeting future demand. Regulatory and
Security issues continued to have accelerated
declines while most other factors came in about
even with recent trends.
In the longer term (3-5 years out), Source Water
concerns again soared while Regulatory issues and
Security declined, with most other factors about
even with recent experience.
Source Water also climbed to be the most
inadequately addressed issue. The rest of the
issue areas declined a bit, except for Water
Treatment as treatment concerns for
pharmaceuticals and other emerging contaminants
raised concerns likely fueled by the publicity
issues this spring.
2008 Critical Issue Breakout US Base 1,709
  • Near Longer
  • Term Term
  • Source Water Supply 41 45 23
  • Water Supply/Shortage 21 25 11
  • Source water protection 9 8 5
  • Drugs in Source Water 9 8 3
  • Business Factors 30 28 23
  • Financing repairs/replacements/upgrades 13 14
  • Rates/Cost Imbalance 12 10 7
  • Finance regulatory compliance 4 4
  • Regulatory Factors 25 21 10
  • Complying with new regulations 19 15
  • Infrastructure 23 27 19
  • Aging infrastructure 19 21 15
  • Failing infrastructure 3 3 2

When the financing components of Infrastructure
and Regulatory Issues are combined with the other
Infrastructure and Regulatory comments
(respectively), Source Water remains 1, but
Infrastructure rises to the 2 spot, and
Workforce rises to the 4 position. And
Infrastructure is clearly thought to be the most
inadequately addressed issue overall.
Focus On Workforce Issues
  • Based on the growing concerns about Workforce
    issues in previous years, additional Workforce
    drill-down questions were included to provide
    deeper perspective

Executive and Management/ Supervisory personnel
are expected to experience the highest retirement
rates in the next five years (particularly at
Utilities), followed by Operators. The potential
organizational knowledge loss from these line
positions continues to be troubling.
In general, both Utilities and Service Providers
indicate a fair degree of concern about their
ability to cope with workforce retirement. 27
of Utilities and 22 of Service Providers gave a
rating below the midpoint of 4 on the 7-point
scale. Just over 10 of each group felt Very
Compounding difficulties with the large number of
Operators about to retire, Utility managers still
report it is increasingly difficult to recruit
and retain suitable replacements for Operators
leaving their organizations (due to retirement or
being recruited away to higher paying/more
prestigious positions).
Focus on Other Utility Perspective
  • Capital Spending
  • Infrastructure Failure Rates
  • Technology Usage/Adoption

Utilities capital spending for Expansion in 2009
will be nearly half of all capital spent (47) -
up 11 from 2008. Infrastructure
Replacement/Upgrades will be 29, up 17 from
2008. New Source Water Supply (12) and Security
spending (2) will remain about flat, while
capital spending to meet Regulatory Requirements
(9) will fall slightly (-4). Total capital
spending is projected to rise about 14 in 2009
vs. 2008, slowing slightly from the 19 rise
reported between 2008 and 2007.
Utilities will rely on bonds and rate increases
for nearly half of their capital needs in 2008.
Operational savings and loans will comprise about
another quarter of capital funding, with grants
and other funding options rounding out the mix.
These proportions have remained very similar over
the past three years.
Overall, Utilities report major infrastructure
failures in 2007 occurred about as frequently and
about as severely as in 2006.
Water efficiency is the more likely of the three
options tested to be implemented for future
source water, with nearly a quarter of utilities
already using it and another 8 seriously
considering water efficiency. Nearly 35 of
utilities are not considering water
reclamation/reuse seriously at all, while about a
quarter are not considering desalination at all
(even though it might be applicable to their
region). About a third of utilities do not see
desalination as applicable to their area.
Demographics Organization
Demographics Job Responsibilities
The Common Issues
  • Infrastructure
  • Regulations
  • Total water management
  • Funding

The Triad of Sustainability
Total Water Management
  • Sustainability is generally defined as the use
    of resources today so that there is no adverse
    impacts in the future
  • For water, the focus is typically on water
    resources and/or total water management
  • Utility adaptive management to be prepared for
    climate change is one part
  • Management of carbon footprint and/or greenhouse
    gases (GHG) can be another part
  • Energy/water nexus getting increased attention

Funding Sustainability
  • Water has been under-priced and under-valued
  • Public needs education on the value of water
  • Utilities should be self-sustaining thru rates
  • Local elected officials have to make tough
  • Federal role should focus on research and funding
  • Treatment technologies exist to comply with the
    regulations, but rates have to raise the
  • More and more old distribution system pipes needs
    rehabilitation and/or replacement and that will
    take more

Workforce Sustainability
  • Utilities have an aging workforce
  • Operators and technical staff are the two largest
    problem areas
  • Two different approaches needed
  • New AWWA public affairs effort to highlight the
    water and wastewater profession
  • Get Into Water

  • American Water Works Association
  • Government Affairs Office
  • 1300 Eye Street NW, 701W
  • Washington, DC 20005
  • (202) 628-8303