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Actionline – February 2019

Volume 16, Issue 2

Click here to download a printable copy of this month’s edition.


House T&I Committee Leaders Laying Foundation
for Clean Water SRF Reauthorization

Rep. Peter DeFazio (D-Ore.) and Grace Napolitano (D-Calif.), the chairs of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee (T&I) and water resources and environment subcommittee, are considering legislation to reauthorize the Clean Water State Revolving Fund (SRF). Along with the Safe Drinking Water SRF (which was reauthorized last year for three years), the Clean Water SRF is the primary mechanism by which the federal government funds water infrastructure investment.

A draft of the “Water Quality Protection and Job Creation Act of 2019” being circulated among stakeholders, would authorize $4 billion per year for the Clean Water SRF for fiscal years 2020 through 2024 ($20 billion over five years). Although the authorization for the program expired in 1994, Congress has continued to appropriate money for it on an annual basis, albeit at levels well below what’s needed to meet national needs.

The new bill would more than double the federal investment in sewers. Under the recently-agreed bipartisan spending package for FY 2019, the Clean Water SRF will receive $1.7 billion and the Safe Drinking Water SRF will receive $1.2 billion (the same amount appropriated for FY 2018).

The T&I Committee leadership is apparently also working to make the Clean Water SRF reauthorization legislation bipartisan. Reps. Don Young (R-Alaska) and John Katco’s (R-N.Y.) names have been floated as possible GOP cosponsors.

In the weeks ahead, ACPPA will continue to work with our allies in the Clean Water Council and North American Concrete Alliance (NACA) to make sure that water infrastructure remains high on the political radar screen. The issue will be front and center when ACPPA heads to Capitol Hill as part of the NACA fly-in on April 9th and 10th. For more information about this FREE opportunity to come to Washington, D.C. and personally advocate for your company and industry, click here.


Make Your Voice Heard in the Halls of Congress
Time Running Out to Register for 2019 NACA Fly-In

The March 12 deadline to register for the North American Concrete Alliance (NACA) Washington, D.C. Fly-In is rapidly approaching.

ACPPA is a leading member of NACA, a coalition of 12 trade associations involved in concrete and cement. NACA’s 2019 Fly-In on April 9 and 10 is an excellent opportunity to get personally involved in the legislative process and hear directly from industry experts and elected officials about policy issues that affect costs of doing business and product demand.

For a look at ACPPA’s participation in last year’s NACA Fly-In, click here.

The event, which is coordinated by the Portland Cement Association with support from NACA member organizations, is free to attend. But you must RSVP by March 12, which is also the day the room block at the host hotel expires.

Don’t miss this opportunity to make your voice heard in the halls of Congress. For more information, contact ACPPA Counsel and Lobbyist Christian Klein at christian.klein@potomac-law.com or 703.599.9164.


New Bilateral Agreements Seek to Make Infrastructure Canada
More Responsive to Provincial, Territorial Needs

Infrastructure Canada announced Feb. 21 that the Government now has agreements in place with each of the 13 provincial and territorial governments to provide predictable, long-term funding for infrastructure projects that reflect the local priorities of each jurisdiction.

“Building infrastructure is not just about assembling bricks and mortar. It’s also about building bridges of common understanding among all levels of government so we can all deliver for Canadians,” François-Philippe Champagne, Canada’s Minister of Infrastructure and Communities said. “In responding to the needs expressed by other orders of government, the Government of Canada is adjusting the terms of its infrastructure plan to make them flexible enough to support the unique and evolving needs of our provincial and territorial partners, which collectively own more than 98 percent of all public infrastructure in this country.”

Actions undertaken by Infrastructure Canada to improve the Government’s responsiveness to local needs include:

  • Simplifying the process by which proposed projects are approved, including streamlining the application process, launching an online portal for project applications to be submitted more easily and having a dedicated team of officials to shepherd large project proposals through approvals.
  • Supporting more infrastructure renewal in rural and northern communities, including making available federal funding to cover a portion of the costs associated with planning infrastructure projects in communities with a population of fewer than 5,000 people.

    Click the image to access the Investing in Canada Plan Project Map.

  • Increasing broadband access in rural communities to improve access to high-speed Internet service.
  • Advancing reconciliation with indigenous peoples by making the costs of holding consultations with indigenous peoples about proposed infrastructure projects retroactively eligible for federal funding.
  • Expanding the types of energy retrofit projects that are eligible for federal funding by making territorial administrative buildings, community administrative buildings and emergency services infrastructure in the territories eligible for federally funded energy retrofits.

Under the Investing in Canada plan, the Government of Canada is investing more than $180 billion over 12 years in public transit; green infrastructure such as clean water and wastewater systems; social infrastructure such as affordable housing and community recreation facilities; trade and transportation routes; and renewed infrastructure for rural and northern communities.


Trump Executive Order Seeks to Strengthen
Buy-American Preferences for Infrastructure

President Trump issued an executive order on Jan. 31 aimed at strengthening Buy-American preferences for infrastructure projects funded by the federal government. “[S]tormwater and sewer infrastructure” and “drinking water infrastructure” are specifically included in the definition of “[i]nfrastructure project” contained in the order.

The order directs the head of each covered executive department and agency administering a covered program to encourage recipients of new federal financial assistance awards to use, to the greatest extent practicable, iron and aluminum as well as steel, cement, and other manufactured products produced in the United States in every contract, subcontract, purchase order or sub‑award.

Agency and department heads are also directed to identify any tools, techniques, terms, or conditions that have been used or could be used, consistent with law and in furtherance of the president’s directive, to maximize the use of iron and aluminum as well as steel, cement, and other U.S.-produced manufactured products. Additionally, agencies and departments must analyze whether covered programs within their jurisdiction would support, through terms and conditions on new federal financial assistance awards under such covered programs, the imposition of a requirement to use iron and aluminum as well as steel, cement and other manufactured products produced in the United States.

Executive orders are binding on the executive branch but may be withdrawn by future presidents or superseded by statute. Given that this particular executive order is likely to be embraced by some on Capitol Hill and potentially introduced as legislation, ACPPA welcomes member input on the potential implications of the executive order for our members and their customers. Please send your comments to christian.klein@potomac-law.com.


EPA Announces Webinars on SRF
American Iron and Steel Requirements

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has announced two free upcoming webinars aimed at helping states, contractors, suppliers and borrowers better understand the state revolving fund (SRF) program’s American iron and steel (AIS) requirements.

The first webinar on March 12 at 2:00 p.m. EDT, which is aimed at states and borrowers, will discuss how to implement the AIS requirement, project coverage, the waiver request process and national waivers. (To register, go to https://register.gotowebinar.com/register/5202049392288121345.) The second presentation on March 13 at 2:00 p.m. EDT will discuss the manufacturer, supplier and contractor role in the AIS. (To register, go to https://register.gotowebinar.com/register/539448288913120257.)


Pressure Pipe Post

ACPPA’s Monthly Source for Industry News
February 2019

To keep members aware of the activities of government and standards organizations, we regularly sweep public databases and publications for the industry-specific terms indicated below. We then provide our members with links to documents identified in the search. Please note that in some cases the URLs may link to subscription-only databases. The purpose of this service is to identify emerging threats and trends as well as opportunities for collective action by ACPPA.

NEWS RESULTS

Aging Infrastructure

Pence Promises Governors that Congress will Pass an Infrastructure Bill by Next Year
02/22/2019 https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/pence-promises-governors-that-congress-will-pass-an-infrastructure-bill-by-next-year/2019/02/22/bce20b30-36d1-11e9-af5b-b51b7ff322e9_story.html
Vice President Pence on Friday promised a gathering of the nation’s governors that Congress would pass a “historic” infrastructure bill by next year, an action that would require bipartisan cooperation to make good on a stalled agenda item of President Trump.
[Canada] Northern B.C. Communities Get Funds for Aging Infrastructure
02/18/2019 https://www.princegeorgematters.com/local-news/northern-bc-communities-get-funds-for-aging-infrastructure-1249053
The province is giving out $100 million to four regional districts and 22 municipalities.
Aging Infrastructure, Winter Rain Exacerbate Sewage Overflows
02/08/2019 https://www.vpr.org/post/aging-infrastructure-winter-rain-exacerbate-sewage-overflows
Vermont’s on and off again winter has overloaded some of the state’s aging waste water treatment systems, resulting in hundreds of thousands of gallons of sewage spilling into rivers and streams.
Trump Calls Again on Congress to Act on Aging Infrastructure Needs
02/05/2019 https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-trump-infrastructure/trump-calls-again-on-congress-to-act-on-aging-infrastructure-needs-idUSKCN1PU2N5
President Donald Trump asked U.S. Congress in his State of the Union address on Tuesday to pass legislation to boost the nation’s aging infrastructure, without providing details on how to go about paying for it or how much it would cost.

Sewer

[Hawaii] Council Approves Sewer Fee Hikes
02/24/2019 https://www.westhawaiitoday.com/2019/02/24/hawaii-news/council-approves-sewer-fee-hikes/
The first sewer fee hike in 17 years squeaked through the County Council on a 5-4 vote this week, but only after it was amended to spread the cost over five years instead of the three requested by the administration.
Water Assoc. Names Hall Manager of the Year
02/22/2019 https://alamosanews.com/article/water-assoc-names-hall-manager-of-the-year
Farron Hall, utilities superintendent at the City of Alamosa, has been named 2018 Manager of the Year by the Colorado Rural Water Association.
[Minnesota] ‘Vision and Values’ for 2018 State of the City
02/05/2019 https://www.riverfallsjournal.com/news/government-and-politics/4566700-vision-and-values-2018-state-city
For example, 5,249 feet of sewer pipe were lined in 2018, 45 electric outages were restored, 148 lane miles were plowed during 23 snow events, 248 fire calls were handled and 1,515 ambulance transports were given.

Water Infrastructure

[Blog] 2019 Spending Package Increases Infrastructure Funding
02/27/2019 https://www.aggman.com/2019-spending-package-increases-infrastructure-funding/
It took a while, but a 2019 spending package was finally approved by Congress, signed by President Trump, and enacted on Feb. 15. In addition to the $1.375 billion for southwest border barriers, the package also includes full-year 2019 funding levels for important federal infrastructure programs, including the Department of Transportation (DOT) and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the Engineering News-Record reports.
EPA Issues Baltimore $202 Million Loan to Help Repair Wastewater System
02/26/2019 https://www.baltimoresun.com/news/maryland/environment/bs-md-ci-epa-loan-20190225-story.html
Baltimore is set to receive a federal loan of about $202 million from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to help the city make system-wide upgrades to its aging wastewater infrastructure.
Valparaiso Lawmakers Leading Statehouse Effort to Fix Indiana’s Aging Water Infrastructure
02/25/2019 https://www.nwitimes.com/news/local/govt-and-politics/valparaiso-lawmakers-leading-statehouse-effort-to-fix-indiana-s-aging/article_e107cd71-639f-544f-9896-b85680f4c2da.html
Local water utilities whose ratepayers are unable to afford needed infrastructure improvements, such as new pipes, mains or leak controls, may get a helping hand from the state.
Vermont Mayors Hopeful for Federal Infrastructure Infusion
02/25/2019 https://www.wcax.com/content/news/Vermont-mayors-hopeful-for-federal-infrastructure-cash-506334721.html
Rep. Peter Welch says Congress is discussing a major infrastructure bill that could total $1.5 trillion and bring significant assistant to Vermont’s cities and towns.
[Wisconsin] Extreme Weather Causes Concerns Over Madison’s Water Infrastructure
02/22/2019 https://www.wpr.org/extreme-weather-causes-concerns-over-madisons-water-infrastructure
The extreme temperature swings in the past few weeks put pressure on Wisconsin’s infrastructure. In Madison, it raised concerns about how water mains will fare as climate change progresses.
[Kentucky] Committee Advances Water Infrastructure Bill, Hears Testimony on Failing Drinking Water Systems
02/20/2019 https://www.lanereport.com/110705/2019/02/committee-advances-water-infrastructure-bill-hears-testimony-on-failing-drinking-water-systems/
The Senate Natural Resources and Energy Committee passed Senate Bill 163, which provides guidance to the Public Service Commission (PSC) for the voluntary purchase of water systems.
Water Infrastructure Puts Residents At Risk
02/15/2019 http://www.wunc.org/post/water-infrastructure-puts-residents-risk
A number of North Carolina communities are struggling to access safe drinking water. A WRAL investigative team tracked two decades of data and uncovered high rates of water violations, which are most pervasive in rural areas including the towns of Carthage and Butner in central North Carolina.
EPA Accelerates Water Infrastructure Investment
02/11/2019 https://www.estormwater.com/legislationgovernment-actions/epa-accelerates-water-infrastructure-investment
The U.S. EPA announced it is accelerating investment in the nation’s aging water infrastructure in support of President Donald J. Trump’s Infrastructure Initiative. Over the past year, EPA has moved President Trump’s infrastructure agenda forward by working to get the financing, tools and resources EPA’s state, local, tribal and other partners need to modernize outdated water infrastructure while improving local water quality, creating jobs and better protecting public health, according to an EPA press release.
A Water Crisis Is Growing in a Place You’d Least Expect It
02/08/2019 https://www.wfyi.org/news/articles/a-water-crisis-is-growing-in-a-place-youd-least-expect-it
For months, Rev. Falicia Campbell kept a secret from her congregation, her friends and even her adult children. It was a secret she was ashamed to divulge: She was living without running water.
State Water Infrastructure Report Calls for Billions in Investments
02/07/2019 https://spectrumlocalnews.com/nys/capital-region/news/2019/02/07/new-york-water-infrastructure-report
A new report says New York State is making strides on updating its aging water infrastructure, but still calls the situation a “crisis.”
Decaying Water Infrastructure Creates Daily Struggle in Southern W.Va.
02/05/2019 http://www.wvpublic.org/post/decaying-water-infrastructure-creates-daily-struggle-southern-wva
A special report and in-depth discussion on water infrastructure needs in West Virginia. Reporter Caity Coyne of the Charleston Gazette-Mail joins us to explore the issues and discuss two bills moving through the West Virginia Legislature that may address some of the need.

Clean Water

Two Years Later, Brown Water Still Coming out of Waverly Faucets
02/26/2019 https://wtvr.com/2019/02/26/waverly-brown-water-update/
“This is pretty typical of what we’re seeing around Waverly. It’s old stuff over the decades. It hasn’t been maintained properly,” Cox said. “You get pipe breaks, and our public works guys they work themselves to death patching pipe leaks all over town.”
Contaminants in Newark-Supplied Water Found in Nutley, Belleville, Bloomfield
02/12/2019 https://www.northjersey.com/story/news/essex/nutley/2019/02/
12/contaminants-newark-supplied-water-found-nutley-belleville-bloomfield/2791271002/
Contaminants have spiked in the Newark city water supply, leaving its municipal customers scrambling to ease the problem trickling into their towns. Nutley has followed Belleville and Bloomfield in alerting citizens that water supplied by the Newark Water Department contains haloacetic acids above the federal standard.

Cement

Portland Cement Association Launches New Podcast Series: Hard Facts
02/27/2019 https://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/portland-cement-association-launches-new-podcast-series-hard-facts-300803376.html
The Portland Cement Association (PCA), representing America’s Cement Manufacturers, has launched a new podcast series. Hard Facts is a podcast examining the best way to pay for the nation’s transportation infrastructure and explores money-saving tools available to planners and builders through interviews with members of Congress, the Administration and industry.

Water Supply

Colorado Town Cuts off Water to Some After Supply Drops
02/27/2019 https://www.usnews.com/news/best-states/colorado/articles/2019-02-27/colorado-town-cuts-off-water-to-some-after-supply-drops
Paonia Town Administrator Ken Knight tells The Daily Sentinel that the water service disruption could last up to 48 hours. The town halted service to 27 water companies Tuesday, but it’s continuing service to downtown businesses, school facilities, and an urgent care center and nursing home.
[Arizona] Payson Says It Has Secured A ‘Forever Water Supply’
02/26/2019 https://kjzz.org/content/782386/payson-says-it-has-secured-forever-water-supply
Twenty years and $54 million later, Payson has a reliable water source for its residents. The water comes from the C.C. Cragin Reservoir that was acquired by the Salt River Project. The project will include 26 miles of pipeline from the reservoir, a pump station, two hydroelectric generators, a water treatment plant and multiple storage tanks.
[Washington] Local Water Supply Experts Say the More Snow the Better
02/26/2019 https://www.nbcrightnow.com/news/local-water-supply-experts-say-the-more-snow-the-better/article_a722840e-3a29-11e9-b70b-eb1f525415ba.html
Across Washington, a lot of people are fed up with the snow… but many water supply experts and farmers are saying otherwise.
[Texas] Seeking Resilient Water Supply, Buda Goes Forward with Aquifer Storage
02/20/2019 https://communityimpact.com/austin/san-marcos-buda-kyle/editors-pick/2019/02/20/seeking-resilient-water-supply-buda-goes-forward-with-aquifer-storage/
In anticipation of significant population growth over the next decades, several years ago Buda officials began to look seriously at how to ensure a reliable water supply.
Bill Would let Providence Pursue Water-Supply Partnership
02/15/2019 https://www.providencejournal.com/news/20190213/bill-would-let-providence-pursue-water-supply-partnership
Legislation introduced in the General Assembly this week would enable the city to partner with water authorities, operators, or regional water quality management district commissions while limiting rate increases and maintaining public oversight of the utility.
[California] Another Voice: Our Water Supply is “Dam” Important
02/03/2019 https://www.ukiahdailyjournal.com/2019/02/03/another-voice-our-water-supply-is-dam-important/
The Mendocino County Farm Bureau appreciates the more than 150 people that took the time last week to attend the showing of the movie, A River’s Last Chance, and for the assistance in the promotion of the event from the Ukiah Daily Journal. It was gratifying to see so many individuals willing to learn more about the Eel River, the Potter Valley Project and their water supply.

Water Mains

[Wisconsin] Water Main Breaks Expected as Temperatures Drop
02/27/2019 https://www.nbc15.com/content/news/Water-main-breaks-expected-as-temperatures-drop-506405951.html
Madison Water Utility warned people on Tuesday to watch for more water main breaks as temperatures drop, with lows below zero.
[Michigan] Roads Cracking and Water Mains Bursting as Rapid Thaw Begins in Michigan
02/01/2019 https://www.theoaklandpress.com/news/local/roads-cracking-and-water-mains-bursting-as-rapid-thaw-begins/article_7ebb2234-264f-11e9-931c-7b4ff34a40cf.html
As the bitter arctic air is pushed out by a much warmer southerly air mass, water pipes located in homes, and underground, may be more susceptible to bursting due to the rapid freeze-thaw cycle.

Water Funding

[Vermont] Lawmakers Propose Alternative Clean Water Funding Options
02/21/2019 https://vtdigger.org/2019/02/21/lawmakers-propose-alternative-clean-water-funding-options/
The Scott administration’s proposal to fund clean water with existing revenue received a tentative thumbs up from the EPA last week. But lawmakers — less than keen on that idea — are rolling out their own plans, ranging from a tax on manicures to a parcel fee.
Advocate Says Land and Water Funding Needs to Be Approved
02/12/2019 http://www.wxpr.org/post/advocate-says-land-and-water-funding-needs-be-approved
U-S Senator Tammy Baldwin says she expects the reauthorization of the Land and Water Conservation Fund to pass soon. Hunters, anglers and conservationists had asked the Wisconsin Democrat to work on its passage when they met with her last September.
[Michigan] No New Flint Water Crisis Money from the State
02/06/2019 https://nbc25news.com/news/local/no-new-flint-water-crisis-money-from-the-state
The state agreed to spend about $300 million on the Flint water crisis. That’s according to State Senator Jim Ananich. But what happens when that cash runs out? Ananich says state funds aren’t unlimited for Flint.

Drought

Bid to Secure Cash For The Salton Sea Stalls Colorado River Drought Plan
02/26/2019 https://www.cpr.org/news/story/bid-to-secure-cash-for-the-salton-sea-stalls-colorado-river-drought-plan
The Imperial Irrigation District wants $200 million for the Salton Sea, a massive, briny lake in the desert southeast of Los Angeles created when the Colorado River breached a dike in 1905 and flooded a dry lake bed. The money would help create habitat for migratory birds and suppress dust in communities with high rates of asthma and respiratory illnesses.
West’s Active Winter So Far Has Had a Huge Impact on Drought
02/22/2019 https://weather.com/news/climate/news/2019-02-22-west-california-drought-reduction-wet-pattern-spring
Drought conditions have dramatically improved this winter in the West and this trend is expected to persist into the spring.
Bill That Nearly Scuttled Drought Plan Shelved
02/20/2019 https://news.azpm.org/p/news-articles/2019/2/20/146566-bill-that-nearly-scuttled-drought-plan-shelved/
A legislative threat to the Colorado River drought contingency plan was put on hold Tuesday after a contentious hearing in Phoenix. The bill sponsored by House Speaker Rusty Bowers would have done away with the “use it or lose it” concept in Arizona water law. Arizona and other western states have had similar laws on the books for decades.

REGULATORY RESULTS

Drought

Department of Agriculture | Notice | 2018 Farm Bill Implementation Listening Session
02/14/2019 https://www.govinfo.gov/app/details/FR-2019-02-14/2019-02360
In preparing to implement the Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018 (commonly referred to as the 2018 Farm Bill), we are hosting a listening session for initial public input about new programs and changes to existing programs implemented by the Farm Service Agency (FSA), the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), and the Risk Management Agency (RMA). The 2018 Farm Bill is intended to provide support, certainty, and stability to our Nation’s farmers, ranchers, and land stewards by enhancing farm support programs, improving crop insurance, maintaining disaster programs, and promoting and supporting voluntary conservation. We invite you to participate in the listening session. The listening session is open to the public.

Water Infrastructure

Executive Office of the President | Executive Order | Strengthening Buy-American Preferences for Infrastructure Projects
02/05/2019 https://www.govinfo.gov/app/details/FR-2019-02-05/2019-01426
As expressed in Executive Order 13788 of April 18, 2017 (Buy American and Hire American), it is the policy of the executive branch to maximize, consistent with law, the use of goods, products, and materials produced in the United States, in Federal procurements and through the terms and conditions of Federal financial assistance awards.

Water Supply

Environmental Protection Agency | Notice | Notice of Approval of the Primacy Revision Application for the Public Water System Supervision Program From the State of Kansas
02/08/2019 https://www.govinfo.gov/app/details/FR-2019-02-08/2019-01551
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is hereby giving notice that the state of Kansas is revising its approved Public Water System Supervision Program delegated to the Kansas Department of Health and Environment. EPA has reviewed the application and intends to approve these program revisions.

Sewer

Environmental Protection Agency | Proposed Rule | Revised Definition of “Waters of the United States”
02/14/2019 https://www.govinfo.gov/app/details/FR-2019-02-14/2019-00791
The Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of the Army (“the agencies”) are publishing for public comment a proposed rule defining the scope of waters federally regulated under the Clean Water Act (CWA). This proposal is the second step in a comprehensive, two-step process intended to review and revise the definition of “waters of the United States” consistent with the Executive Order signed on February 28, 2017, “Restoring the Rule of Law, Federalism, and Economic Growth by Reviewing the `Waters of the United States’ Rule.” This proposed rule is intended to increase CWA program predictability and consistency by increasing clarity as to the scope of “waters of the United States” federally regulated under the Act. This proposed definition revision is also intended to clearly implement the overall objective of the CWA to restore and maintain the quality of the nation’s waters while respecting State and tribal authority over their own land and water resources.

LEGISLATIVE RESULTS

Water Infrastructure

H.R. 1159 | Introduced by Rep. Cicilline, David (D-R.I.) | IMAGINE Act
02/14/2019 https://www.congress.gov/bill/116th-congress/house-bill/1159
To encourage the research and use of innovative materials and associated techniques in the construction and preservation of the domestic transportation and water infrastructure system, and for other purposes.
2. 403 | Introduced by Sen. Whitehouse, Sheldon (D-R.I.) | IMAGINE Act
02/07/2019 https://www.congress.gov/bill/116th-congress/senate-bill/403
To encourage the research and use of innovative materials and associated techniques in the construction and preservation of the domestic transportation and water infrastructure system, and for other purposes.
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