ACWA Regulatory Summit Looks Ahead on Treatment Methods, Rules

  • by Will Holbert
  • Oct 17, 2018
  • Water News

ACWA’s 2018 Regulatory Summit hosted scientists, experts and representatives from state government who shared insights with approximately 120 attendees on the latest developments in drinking water standards.

Hosted by ACWA in Sacramento, the Oct. 16 summit explored treatment methodologies for microplastics, mercury and PFOA/PFOS, as well as a discussion on the economic feasibility of drinking water standards.

ACWA President Brent Hastey welcomed attendees along with Edgar Dymally, chair of ACWA’s Water Quality Committee and Senior Environmental Specialist with the Metropolitan Water District. He moderated the day’s first panel discussion, which examined the nexus between economics and emerging regulations.

Panelist Steve Bigley, director of environmental services with the Coachella Valley Water District and vice chair of the ACWA Water Quality Committee, provided a case study from CVWD that illustrated the need for agencies to have more time to implement new maximum contaminant levels (MCLs) in order to allow innovation at determining cost-effective solutions.

The four-member panel “Microplastics: Potential for Macro-Uncertainty” also included Bigley as moderator and Jessica Gauger, director of legislative advocacy for the California Association of Sanitation Agencies. Gov. Jerry Brown recently signed SB 1422 into law, which directs the State Water Resources Control Board to adopt a definition of microplastics, among a number of regulatory measures.

“We will be watching the implementation of SB 1422. I would expect more legislation on microplastics will be coming in the next years,” Gauger said.

State Water Board member E. Joaquin Esquivel delivered the keynote address during luncheon presentation. He agreed on the importance of the State Water Board looking at feasibility and a cost-benefit analysis, as well as the need to consider the cost of regulations on small and disadvantaged communities.

“We need to utilize data systems and technology to handle time-intensive tasks that free up staff time for more creative and innovative pursuits,” Esquivel said.

Following Esquivel’s luncheon address, Tulare County Water Resources Program Director Denise England shared her county’s perspective on managing water quality at the local level. She provided an overview of Tulare County’s progress and challenges related to the disadvantaged communities, among them oversubscribed funding programs, consolidation challenges and conflicting regulations.

On the PFOA/PFOS panel, an engineer with the State Water Resource Control Board, Dr. Helene Baribeau, provided an overview of the Environmental Health Assessment process and California’s new notification and response level, along with discussing the path to future regulations.

The summit wrapped up with a five-member panel discussing mercury in California reservoirs. This highlighted a presentation by Santa Clara Valley Water District Assistant Water Resources Specialist Mark Seelos sharing results from pre-and-post study on treatment results for methylated mercury in the district’s Guadalupe Reservoir.

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