• Posts by Willis Hon
    Associate

    Willis Hon focuses on serving water industry clients across California on a broad range of administrative and regulatory matters. He has extensive experience before the California Public Utilities Commission where he has ...

OEHHA Releases Long-Awaited Proposed Public Health Goals for PFOA and PFOS

Today, the Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA) of the California Environmental Protection Agency announced the release of a draft document for public review describing proposed Public Health Goals (PHGs) for perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) and perfluorooctane sulfonic acid (PFOS) in drinking water. The release of the draft PHGs is a long-awaited and significant step in the regulation of such per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) in California.

The draft PHGs identified by OEHHA are 0.007 parts per trillion (ppt) for PFOA to address concerns based on ...

WEBINAR: Taking the Plunge: Lessons Learned from Water System Consolidations

With a wide patchwork of water systems servicing residents across California, there have been ongoing efforts by the Legislature to encourage the consolidation of smaller water systems to take advantage of scale economies and improve system reliability and compliance with drinking water standards.

To gain insight into the evolving landscape as these changes are being implemented, please join us on March 23, 2021 from 11:00 a.m. – 12:15 p.m. PT for a complimentary webinar, “Taking the Plunge: Lessons Learned from Water System Consolidations.” Also joining our Nossaman ...

Many Opposing Views on California’s New Water Futures Market

As of December 7, 2020, water has been included as a traded commodity on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange (“the Merc”). According to a recent Chicago magazine article, “Now cities and farmers can buy futures in California’s water, meaning they can hedge against (or bet on) rising water prices out west, based on the Nasdaq Veles California Water Index [ticker symbol: NQH2O], which tracks the current market price of the five largest water supplies in the state…So far, only the Golden State’s water supply is being traded; it’s sort of a test run.”

Some see this move at the ...

Cybersecurity Update for Water Systems

Following up on our December 2020 post regarding the SolarWinds cybersecurity breach, we wanted to provide a link to the February 11, 2021 joint Cybersecurity Advisory issued by the federal government. The Advisory—jointly authored by the FBI, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, U.S. Cybersecurity & Infrastructure Agency and the Multi-State Information & Analysis Center, part of the nonprofit Center for Internet Security—comes on the heels of a cyberattack on the Oldsmar, Florida water treatment plant. On February 5th, a hacker gained access to the plant and increased ...

SolarWinds Cybersecurity Exploit: What Water Providers Need to Know and Do

In light of the major cybersecurity breach of the SolarWinds Orion software by malicious actors, the Water Information Sharing and Analysis Center (WaterISAC) recently issued a series of advisories providing guidance for water providers across the country on how to respond and react to this unprecedented cyberattack.

As highlighted in the WaterISAC advisory issued on December 16, 2020, the Environmental Protection Agency has recommended that all water and wastewater utilities review the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency's (CISA's) Emergency Directive ...

Power Shutoffs: What California Water Providers Should Know

We recently authored the article, “Power Shutoffs: What California Water Providers Should Know” (subscription required) for the Daily Journal, California’s leading daily legal news source.

The article examines how water systems—which rely heavily on electricity to pump, treat and deliver safe drinking water to customers—have been impacted as catastrophic wildfires in California have led to an increased use of public safety power shutoff (PSPS) as a means for electric utilities to mitigate the risk ...

America’s Water Infrastructure Act: More Deadlines Ahead for Community Drinking Water Systems!

Community Water Systems (CWSs) around the country should be aware of upcoming deadlines at the end of 2020 that were put into place under the America’s Water Infrastructure Act (AWIA) previously signed into law in 2018. The law requires CWSs that serve more than 3,300 people to complete a risk and resilience assessment and develop an emergency response plan and establishes deadlines by which water systems must certify to the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) completion of the risk assessment and emergency response plan.

For those CWSs serving ≥100,000 ...

Executive Order on Modernizing America’s Water Resource Management and Water Infrastructure

On October 13, 2020, President Trump issued the Executive Order (EO) on Modernizing America’s Water Resource Management and Water Infrastructure. The goal of the EO is to streamline the management of federal water policy and make coordination among agencies managing water infrastructure more efficient. The EO established a Water Subcabinet of agency officials to coordinate water strategy and planning. The composition of the Water Subcabinet is outlined in the EO, and according to a press release from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) ...

Newsom Releases Final Water Resilience Portfolio Outlining California State Water Priorities

Governor Gavin Newsom recently released the final version of the Water Resilience Portfolio, which identifies 142 specific state actions to be taken in order to help build a climate-resilient water system for California in the face of climate change. The Water Resilience Portfolio is meant to serve as the Newsom Administration’s blueprint for helping the State adapt to impacts of climate change on its water, including more extreme droughts and floods, rising temperatures, declining fish populations, over-reliance on groundwater and other challenges.

In April 2019, Governor ...

Water Board Issues Draft Definition of Microplastics in Drinking Water

The California State Water Resources Control Board (“State Water Board”) recently issued a draft Definition of Microplastics in Drinking Water and an accompanying staff report. The State Water Board will host a video/teleconference workshop on the draft definition on April 7, 2020 and written comments will be accepted until April 24, 2020. Here is the draft definition ...

EPA Takes Key Step Toward Regulation of PFAS
On March 10, 2020, the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) published its proposed Preliminary Regulatory Determinations for perfluorooctanesulfonic acid (PFOS) and perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) in drinking water, thereby taking the initial steps to formally regulate two of the most common chemicals in the family of compounds known as per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) in drinking water. EPA will seek comment on these preliminary determinations until May 11, 2020.
 
This announcement represents EPA’s preliminary determination that PFOA and PFOS meet the statutory criteria for regulation ...
Water, Power & Fire: Coordination, Resiliency and Liability in 2020

Nossaman Partner Lori Anne Dolqueist and Associate Willis Hon recently presented Nossaman’s Q1 Water Webinar to kick off our 2020 series.  The complimentary 60-minute webinar covered the latest developments in California regarding electrical service and wildfire risk as they are relevant for water providers. Lori and Willis discussed recent Public Safety Power Shutoff (PSPS) events impacting water providers throughout the State, as well as coordination with electrical service providers, permitting requirements for backup generation, and public communications to ...

Posted in Water Quality
State Water Board Imposes Stricter Response Levels for PFOA and PFOS

On February 6, 2020, the California State Water Resources Control Board lowered the response levels (RLs) for perflourooctanoic acid (PFOA) and perfluorooctanesulfonic acid (PFOS), two of the most common compounds in the family of chemicals known as per- and poly-fluoroalkyl substances (PFAS). The new RLs are set at 10 parts per trillion (ppt) for PFOA and 40 ppt for PFOS, down from the previous RL of 70 ppt for the combined concentration of the two compounds.

This Board action follows the new regulatory requirements in California for PFAS that became effective on January 1, 2020 ...

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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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