News Briefs: Ohio Train Derailment Sparks Water Worries Beyond State Borders

Also in this week's water and wastewater news, the EPA announces the availability of $2 billion to address emerging contaminants like PFAS in drinking water across the country

News Briefs: Ohio Train Derailment Sparks Water Worries Beyond State Borders

As health concerns escalate after a train derailment in Ohio spilled hazardous chemicals, West Virginia American Water is enhancing its water treatment and installing a secondary intake on the Guyandotte River. The utility confirmed that there has been no change in raw water at its Ohio River intake.

"The health and safety of our customers is a priority, and there are currently no drinking water advisories in place for customers," the company said in a statement, according to FOX News.

Meanwhile, Greater Cincinnati Water Works is also keeping a close watch on water quality in the Cincinnati region in the wake of the train derailment.

EPA Announces $2 Billion in Funding to Address Emerging Contaminants like PFAS in Drinking Water

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Michael Regan recently announced the availability of $2 billion from President Joe Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law to address emerging contaminants like per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) in drinking water across the country. 

This investment, which is allocated to states and territories, will be made available to communities as grants through EPA’s Emerging Contaminants in Small or Disadvantaged Communities (EC-SDC) Grant Program and will promote access to safe and clean water in small, rural and disadvantaged communities while supporting local economies. Regan announced the water infrastructure investments in Maysville, North Carolina, while holding a community roundtable with North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality Secretary Elizabeth S. Biser and other state and local leaders. 

“Too many American communities, especially those that are small, rural or underserved, are suffering from exposure to PFAS and other harmful contaminants in their drinking water,” says Regan. “Thanks to President Biden’s leadership, we are investing in America and providing billions of dollars to strengthen our nation’s water infrastructure while safeguarding people’s health and boosting local economies. These grants build on EPA’s PFAS Strategic Roadmap and will help protect our smallest and most vulnerable communities from these persistent and dangerous chemicals.”

USDA Unveils Strategic Approach for Addressing Water Supply Challenges in the West

As part of the Biden-Harris Administration’s commitment to making Western communities more resilient to the impacts of drought and climate change, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) recently announced new investments and strategies to help farmers and ranchers conserve water, address climate change and build drought resilience in the West, supported in part by funding from the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA).

The Western Water and Working Lands Framework for Conservation Action is a comprehensive, multi-state strategy under USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) to address key water and land management challenges across 17 western states. This is the latest NRCS-issued Framework for Conservation Action, all of which provide direction, support and coordination to address resource concerns and threats across state boundaries and leverage new scientific tools to guide strategic program implementation on the ground. The framework includes guidelines for identifying vulnerable agricultural landscapes and 13 strategies to help NRCS state leaders, water resource managers and producers respond to priority challenges. Guided by this new framework, the WaterSMART Initiative will invest $25 million in three new priority areas and 37 existing priority areas, assisting communities and producers in the West.


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