EPA Action on “Forever Chemicals”

Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) are at the top of every environmental regulator’s list in 2024 and already this year the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has taken key steps toward regulating PFAS as hazardous substances. On April 19, 2024, EPA announced that it finalized its rulemaking designating perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) and per-fluorooctanesulfonic acid (PFOS) as hazardous substances under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA) (also known as the Superfund law). … 

Latest Developments in Standardized Cost Reporting for MS4 Permits

The California State Water Resources Control Board (State Water Board) recently issued a revised draft State Policy for Water Quality Control for Standardized Cost Reporting in Municipal Separate Storm Sewer Systems (MS4) Permits (the Policy). If adopted, this Policy would require permittees subject to MS4 permits to use a list of standardized cost categories to track and report their MS4 permit implementation costs.

The State Water Board released the revised draft Policy on May 9, 2024 for a second round of public comments, which will be due on June 25, 2024, and will hold a public ...

Solar + Water Canals = Win-Win?

On April 4, 2024, Governor Newsom and the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation (Bureau) announced that the Bureau awarded California $15 million for the Delta-Mendota Canal floating solar project. The project, which is funded through President Biden’s Inflation Reduction Act, marks a key step forward for ‘floating solar,’ a technology that is billed as a win-win for the energy and water sectors. … 

California Focuses on Water Supply Resiliency in Updated Water Plan

On April 2, 2024, the California Department of Water Resources (DWR) released the California Water Plan Update 2023 (CWP 2023 Update). DWR’s press release dubs the plan “A Roadmap to Water Management and Infrastructure for a Water Resilient Future.” Resiliency is one of the key focuses for the CWP 2023 Update, as its chapter on objectives is entitled the “Roadmap to Resilience.” The plan is focused on the vision that “All Californians benefit from water resources that are sustainable, resilient to climate change, and managed to achieve shared values and connections to ...

White House Issues Dire Warning Regarding Drinking Water Supply and Wastewater System Cyberattacks

The Biden-Harris administration is redoubling its efforts to improve cybersecurity for the nation’s water systems. In March, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the White House issued a dire warning to state governors alerting them of the need to protect water and wastewater systems from ongoing cybersecurity threats and requested that the states provide plans to decrease the risk of attacks on water and wastewater systems in their state. … 

Posted in Water Supply
State Water Board Updates the “Make Conservation a California Way of Life” Framework, but are the Changes Enough?

On March 12, 2024, the State Water Resources Control Board (State Water Board) announced updates to the “Make Conservation a California Way of Life” framework that is based on SB 606 and AB 1668 from 2018. The changes seek to identify issues identified by commenters on the framework as well as the Legislative Analysts’ Office (LAO), but it is unclear whether they will be enough to satiate critics. Deadlines are fast approaching, as the State Water Board plans to hold a public workshop on the proposed updates on March 20, 2024 and comments on the regulation are due on March 27, 2024. … 

Join Us for a Webinar on the Sackett Decision and Its Effect on WOTUS Permitting Nationwide

In January 2023, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Agencies) adopted a final rule altering the definition of "waters of the United States" (WOTUS), a key term that is referred to but not defined in the Clean Water Act (CWA) and is crucial for determining CWA permitting jurisdiction. The Agencies' stated purpose in adopting the rule was to better comply with the CWA by repealing and replacing a definition of WOTUS that had previously been adopted during the Trump administration; however, promulgation of the rule prompted multiple lawsuits ...

UPDATE: EPA Takes Next Step in PFAS Regulations – Proposing Adding Nine PFAS as Hazardous Constituents

On January 31, 2024, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced that it is proposing to list nine per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) as hazardous constituents under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA). This action represents another significant step in the regulation of PFAS.

PFAS are a key focus of many environmental regulators and of many people as well largely based on their ubiquity and catchy nickname “forever chemicals.” Both come from the fact that PFAS do not break down naturally over time either in the environment or in the human ...

The Impact of Governor Newsom’s Proposed Budget on Water Projects

On January 10, 2024, Governor Newsom announced his 2024-2025 State budget proposal for $291 billion with a $37.9 billion proposed deficit. For water projects, the proposal is remarkably similar to his proposal from last year. The main differences as compared to last year’s proposal are bigger cuts (to many of the same areas cut last year) and less funding for new projects.

Governor Newsom seeks to address the $37.9 billion budget shortfall (which is substantially lower than the Legislative Analyst Office’s $68 billion projection from last month) through a variety of ...

DWR Certifies EIR for Delta Conveyance Project – Advancing Controversial Project and Setting Up Likely Legal Showdown

After releasing the final environmental report (EIR) for the Delta Conveyance Project on December 8, the Department of Water Resources (DWR) certified it on December 21, 2023. The certification of the final EIR is a significant step forward for the Delta Conveyance Project, a key project for the Newsom administration. It also provides the basis for legal challenges, which are all-but inevitable.

The Delta Conveyance Project is the latest in a long line of proposed conveyance projects designed to bring water from northern California to southern California. Different iterations of ...

California Water Views provides timely and insightful updates on the water sector in the state. We relay information on how water legislation and policy from the nation’s capital, Sacramento, and around the U.S. affect California’s water utilities, agencies, practitioners, and consumers.  We also write about important events, conferences, legal cases, and other key happenings involving all things water in and around California.

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