News Briefs: EPA Adds 172 PFAS to Toxics Release Inventory

Also in this week's water and wastewater news, a recent study says wastewater samples can provide up to a week of warning for local COVID-19 spikes

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency recently took the next step to implement an important per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) requirement of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). The NDAA added 172 PFAS to the list of chemicals required to be reported to the Toxics Release Inventory (TRI) and established a 100-pound reporting threshold for these substances. The agency is publishing a final rule that officially incorporates these requirements into the Code of Federal Regulations for TRI.

“EPA continues to prioritize and make progress to protect the health and well-being of communities across the country that are working to address PFAS,” says EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler. “The inclusion of these 172 PFAS on the TRI list will provide EPA and the public with important information on these emerging chemicals of concern.”

WQA Offers Guidance for Bringing Water Systems Back Online

As shelter-in-place orders are being modified or lifted around the country, the Water Quality Association recently offered general guidance on bringing water treatment systems back online in buildings that have been vacant or have seen little or no water use. The guidelines are available on WQA’s website and were discussed in detail during a free webinar May 27.

“Coronavirus itself has not been detected in drinking water supplies. However, stagnant conditions while buildings are unused could cause bacterial growth that may foul or plug water treatment systems if not brought back online properly,” says Eric Yeggy, WQA technical affairs director. “Involving water treatment professionals before faucets are turned on makes it a lot easier to properly maintain and sanitize the system effectively and economically.”

Wastewater Could Provide Early Warning for COVID-19 Spikes

A recent article in Science News examines a study that says wastewater samples could provide up to a week of warning for a COVID-19 spike, locally.

Researchers have detected coronavirus RNA in raw wastewater, and since many people either don’t get tested for COVID-19 or never develop symptoms, they say testing wastewater could be a good way to keep an eye out for signs of an outbreak.


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