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HDR Utility Services Director Trent Stober joins Dave and Anna to close out their PFAS miniseries, focusing on the real-world application of regulatory developments in the water sector. Trent provides perspective on how engineering consultants advise their water and wastewater utility customers on risk management, integrated planning, and other response strategies to the developing PFAS regulatory framework.

Continue Reading PFAS in Focus: Forever-Engineering With Trent Stober, HDR

Dave Ross and Anna Wildeman provide high-level reactions to the Supreme Court’s oral arguments in the Sackett v. EPA case, the latest legal battle in a long-running dispute over the meaning of the phrase “waters of the United States” under the Clean Water Act. They discuss the Court’s surprising focus on a little-known parenthetical in the section 404 program, EPA’s potential reactions to the arguments, and whether anyone can reasonably predict the outcome of the case in what may be the most closely watched environmental decision of the current term.

Continue Reading Reflections on Sackett

Anna and Dave continue their Missouri Water Seminar PFAS miniseries with Assistant Director of Engineering-Environmental Compliance Jay Hoskins of the Metropolitan St. Louis Sewer District. Jay, Anna, and Dave discuss integrated planning, source control, rate setting, and risk communication in a rapidly changing regulatory environment.

Continue Reading PFAS in Focus: Wastewater Utility Perspectives From Jay Hoskins, Metropolitan St. Louis Sewer District

The Biden administration has enormous climate and carbon management goals, which rightfully include the geologic sequestration of carbon dioxide as a core part of its climate adaptation strategy. The administration, to its credit, has worked with Congress to provide tax credits and billions of dollars of new funding for programs targeting the transportation and sequestration of carbon, but without equal commitment to the regulatory side of the house, the administration’s ambitious goals are at risk.

Continue Reading EPA UIC Class VI Program Administration Creates Potential Weak Link in Climate Adaptation Strategy

Dave and Anna kick off a PFAS podcast series taped on location at the Missouri Water Seminar to provide an on-the-ground perspective of how state and local governments are dealing with the emerging regulatory framework for PFAS. Our first guest — Water Program Director Chris Wieberg of the Missouri Department of Natural Resources — explains how the “Show-Me” state uses data collection, collaboration, and risk communication to advance PFAS regulatory and management efforts statewide.

Continue Reading PFAS in Focus: Show-Me Insights From Chris Wieberg, Missouri Department of Natural Resources

Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced that Administrator Regan signed a proposed rule to designate two of the most widely studied per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) as hazardous substances under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA). The proposed designation for PFOA and PFOS, if and when finalized, would provide EPA with powerful new tools to clean up existing contamination in hot spots across the country, while seeking to hold those responsible for the releases financially accountable. The designation would also increase EPA’s reporting and information gathering authorities as the agency continues to build its database of PFAS contamination.

Continue Reading First Major CERCLA Move for PFAS

This article was republished in Pratt’s Energy Law Report (Vol. 22-10, November-December 2022).

On June 1, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released a pre-publication version of its proposal to re-write the Clean Water Act Section 401 rule (Certification Proposal), which, if finalized, is expected to have far-reaching impacts on hydroelectric licensing and relicensing. The Certification Proposal is intended by EPA to replace the version of the rule finalized under the Trump administration in 2020 (2020 Rule). While the Certification Proposal maintains some aspects of the 2020 Rule, it differs in some significant areas and in many ways reverts back to the 1971 regulations.

Continue Reading EPA’s Clean Water Act Certification Proposal to Significantly Impact Hydropower Licensing

Tracy Mehan joins Dave Ross and Anna Wildeman to discuss his work as executive director of government affairs with the American Water Works Association and the flood of water topics inundating the drinking water sector, including new infrastructure funding, affordability as an environmental justice issue, AWWA’s perspective on PFAS and its associated superfund liability question, and updates to the lead and copper rule.

Continue Reading Drinking Water on Tap: Money, Morality, and More with Tracy Mehan from the American Water Works Association

In a move consistent with EPA’s recent uptick in oversight of state regulatory programs, EPA has proposed to establish federal water quality standards (WQS) for human health criteria (HHC) for Washington state. The proposal comes less than two months after the Office of Water rescinded a memorandum that directed EPA regions to comply with Clean Water Act statutory deadlines and give sufficient deference to technical determinations made by states that administer EPA-approved delegated Clean Water Act programs. While the proposal itself is not surprising — EPA telegraphed that it would take this action early in this administration — the timing of the proposal is somewhat surprising.

Continue Reading EPA Proposes Federal Water Quality Standards for Washington State

Anna and Dave welcome Iowa Agriculture Secretary Mike Naig to talk soil health, creative financing, and the future of watershed management in Iowa. They also discuss the state’s ongoing work as part of the Hypoxia Task Force.

Continue Reading Innovation in Iowa: Talking About the Future of Watershed Management With Iowa Agriculture Secretary Mike Naig