Kathleen Burbidge is external affairs associate director for the Water Quality Association. Burbidge can be reached at [email protected].
Dec 03, 2018

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Legislation recognizes POU & POE devices as contaminant solutions

Legislation recognizes POU & POE devices as contaminant solutions

Point-of-use (POU) and point-of-entry (POE) water treatment and filtration products can be uniquely suited to remediate drinking water contaminants. This year, legislators have shown an increased focus on using these technologies as a solution. There are four federal bills and 13 state bills the Water Quality Assn. (WQA) is tracking that call out POU and/or POE devices as a form of remediation. 

Lead in Drinking Water

At the federal level, in September 2018, House Bill 6887 and Senate Bill 3492 both were introduced to improve removal of lead in drinking water in public housing. These bills provide interim controls, which include installing water filters known to remove lead, oversaw by the U.S. EPA. To address water quality in schools, federal Senate Bill 1401, introduced in Spring 2018, creates a grant for school lead testing and remediation. 

The fourth piece of federal legislation, the latest version of the 2018 Farm Bill, includes Section 6108 on rural decentralized water systems. The section modernizes and reauthorizes funding for the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Household Water Well System Grant Program to include loans and grants to low- and moderate-income households in rural areas for the use of private water well installation, upgrades, filtration and treatment; and for maintaining individually owned decentralized wastewater systems in areas not served by a public utility.

On the state level, California, Michigan, New Hampshire and New Jersey have all proposed legislation recognizing water treatment and filtration products as remediation solutions. Upon passage of Senate Bill 247, New Hampshire established a loan program under the Department of Health and Human Services for landlords, child care facilities and owners of single-family homes for lead hazard remediation projects. Similarly, on the West Coast, California has introduced Assembly Bill 2728 to establish a grant program through the State Water Resources Control Board for the replacement of corroded, lead-containing plumbing and services lines, or for the installment of POU or POE water treatment systems. 

New Hampshire Senate Bill 247 also requires landlords of a leased unit to notify the tenant or prospective
tenant when the presence of lead in drinking water exceeds the action level established by EPA. The landlord then is required to install and maintain a filtration device certified to reduce lead on the kitchen faucet. 

In New Jersey, the state has proposed Senate Bill 772 to require installation and maintenance of water filters or treatment devices to remove lead in institutions of higher education. New Jersey has an additional eight bills, all introduced in the first three months of 2018, to address lead testing in institutions of higher education, public and nonpublic schools, child-care centers, health care facilities, and residential rental properties. All eight bills list water filters as a remediation solution. 

To update the state-wide management plan in Michigan, the state’s House Bill 6351, introduced in September 2018 under the Department of Natural Resources Emergency Management Div., adds without limitation an immediate provision for drinking water, filters and other resources to ensure residents have a safe supply of drinking water. 

The legislation proposed in 2018 at the federal and state levels recognizing POU and POE technologies as a part of the solution has increased from previous years and demonstrates the importance of communication and education on how these products are effective and accessible. 

Targeting Emerging Contaminants

By tracking proposed legislation throughout the legislation session, we can understand the topics multiple states are targeting. In 2018, there were more than 70 proposed bills at the state and federal levels WQA tracked focusing on drinking water. Along with embracing POU and POE technologies as a part of the solution, another key area states are concentrating on is addressing emerging or unregulated contaminants. 

There are five federal bills and 20 state bills on emerging or unregulated contaminants. Sixteen of the overall 25 bills specifically address per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) in drinking water. On the federal side, in April 2018 the Senate introduced Senate Bill 2719. In September, House Bill 6835 and Senate Bill 3381 were introduced, all focusing on PFAS in drinking water. The provisions cover exposure and encourage federal agencies to create cooperative agreements with states for removal and remedial actions. 

Beyond PFAS, Congress is looking at proposed bills on pharmaceuticals, personal care products and perchlorate. At the state level, California, Michigan, New Hampshire, New Jersey, North Carolina and Pennsylvania introduced legislation on PFAS in drinking water. The PFAS chemicals states are concentrating on are perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA), perfluorooctanesulfonic acid (PFOS), perfluorononanoic acid (PFNA) or GenX, with varying amounts of guidance or enforceable regulation provisions. Pennsylvania Senate Bill 1242, introduced September 2018, would amend the state Safe Drinking Water Act to include maximum contaminant levels (MCLs) for PFOS at 5 ppt and PFOA at 5 ppt. 

Outside of legislation, on November 2018, the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection moved forward with establishing MCLs for PFOA at 14 ppt and PFNA at 13 ppt. These standards originally were proposed by the New Jersey Drinking Water Quality Institute.

Other than PFAS, states—including California, Hawaii, Michigan, New Hampshire, New Jersey, North Carolina, Pennsylvania and Vermont­—are considering legislation on other emerging contaminants such as microplastics, chlorpyrifos, MTBE and 1,2,3-trichoropropane. States also are establishing and maintaining programs to research emerging contaminants of concern. 

When tracking legislation, keep in mind bills and regulations are open to amendments. It is important to make sure you are reading the latest version of the legislation or policy.

About the author

Kathleen Fultz is global regulatory and government affairs manager for the Water Quality Assn. Fultz can be reached at [email protected] or 630.505.0160.