Posted in Water Quality
Water Board Adopts Final Definition of Microplastics in Drinking Water

This week, on June 16, the California State Water Resources Control Board (“State Water Board”) unanimously adopted a definition for microplastics, making California the first state to adopt a definition specifically applied to drinking water (footnotes omitted):

‘Microplastics in Drinking Water’ are defined as solid polymeric materials to which chemical additives or other substances may have been added, which are particles which have at least three dimensions that are greater than 1nm and less than 5,000 micrometers (µm). Polymers that are derived in nature that have not been chemically modified (other than by hydrolysis) are excluded.

The final definition is much the same as the proposed version that was issued in March 2020 for public comment, key differences being that ...

CPUC Proceedings on Low-Income Customer Assistance and Affordability

The California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) recently took action in two proceedings addressing issues related to low-income customer assistance and affordability. The CPUC noted that the importance of these proceedings has been magnified due to the economic conditions created by the COVID-19 pandemic. 

First, on June 3, 2020, the CPUC issued an amended scoping memo in Rulemaking 17-06-024 requesting comments to consider potential CPUC response to the COVID-19 pandemic. This would be the second phase of this rulemaking proceeding, which was initiated to evaluate the ...

WEBINAR: A Path to Transit and Transportation Project Success in the Wake of the Pandemic

For those of you involved in the transportation sector, we invite you to join us on Wednesday, June 3rd for a discussion on planning, procurement and financing strategies that can be implemented now to support timely project delivery in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.  We are planning a very interactive webinar where ample time will be set aside to answer questions received from attendees both prior to and during the event.

Topics that will be covered include:

  • How to prepare now to efficiently and effectively move projects forward
  • Procurement and contracting strategies that enable ...
Developments in Regulating PFAS in Water

Recently, I participated in the Environmental Law Institute’s (ELI) Master Class, PFAS: From Common Use to Concern. My fellow panelists and I discussed “PFAS in Water,” which included a discussion of the environmental and human health impacts of PFAS contaminated waters, as well as the best approaches to regulate, establish and enforce cleanups and safe drinking water standards.  I was privileged to serve on this panel along with Chris Curran, Water Business Line PFAS Lead, AECOM; Rula Deeb, Ph.D., Senior Principal, Geosyntec Consultants; and Jonathan Kalmuss-Katz, Staff Attorney, Earthjustice. Some of the main take-aways from our presentation included ...

UPCOMING WEBINAR: PFAS in Water

Please join me on May 5, 2020, when I will participate in a webinar panel discussion, "PFAS in Water," hosted by the Environmental Law Institute (ELI). As the second presentation during the ELI Master Class, PFAS: From Common Use to Concern, our  panel will dive into the environmental and human health impacts of PFAS contaminated waters. We will also tackle the best approaches to regulate, establish and enforce cleanups and safe drinking water standards. Additionally, our group of experienced water sector practitioners will explore the federal and regional regulatory ...

Middle Ground, or Muddy Waters? SCOTUS Issues Vague Rule in Clean Water Act Decision

Last week, the U.S. Supreme Court issued a long-awaited decision in County of Maui v. Hawaii Wildlife Fund et al., 590 U.S. __ (2020), in which it determined that the Clean Water Act (CWA) requirements for a National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit for point source discharges of pollutants do apply in certain circumstances to effluent that reaches waters of the United States via groundwater. But under what circumstances? Plaintiff environmental groups argued for the Ninth Circuit’s decision that CWA permitting requirements apply when effluent in a ...

Redefining Navigable Waters: The Next Frontier of the WOTUS Saga

In the ongoing saga of the Clean Water Act’s so-called “Waters of the United States” or WOTUS rule, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Army Corps of Engineers (ACOE) announced changes to the definition of “Navigable Waterways” on January 23, 2020.  Those changes were published in the Federal Register on April 21, 2020.  The EPA and ACOE share jurisdiction for administering the Clean Water Act and are collectively responsible for adopting regulations for implementing the Clean Water Act.  The change to the definition of Navigable Waters is ...

Governor Newsom Relaxes Key CEQA Notice and Consultation Requirements

On March 23, 2020, Governor Newsom signed Executive Order N-54-20, suspending for 60 days public agency and project proponent procedures for posting notices of key CEQA compliance actions.  The Executive Order also relaxes statutory tribal consultation requirements.

The Executive Order is effective immediately and applies to ...

Recent Report Forecasts Economic Hardships for Water Utilities Nationwide

As California businesses remain closed and residents stay at home under shelter-in-place orders, water utilities are at the frontlines ensuring continued access to safe drinking water. Still, it seems that no industry is immune to COVID-19’s economic impacts. A recent analysis prepared for the American Water Works Association and the Association of Metropolitan Water Agencies estimates that revenue shortfalls for the water industry could result in a $32.7 billion reduction in nation-wide economic activity, with significant impacts on private sector jobs and investment in ...

WEBINAR: Keeping Current on COVID-19 Challenges for the Water Industry

Please join our Water Industry Team on April 16, 2020 for “Keeping Current on COVID-19 Challenges for the Water Industry,” a special presentation as part of our 2020 Water Webinar Series. 

There is no question that the COVID-19 pandemic has significantly disrupted business operations in virtually every business sector, and the water industry is no exception. We are mindful of how strenuous it is for our clients to navigate these turbulent times as they continue to provide critical services to our communities and adapt quickly to new emergency orders ...

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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