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America's Water Infrastructure Act

Information for Wisconsin drinking water systems

On October 23, 2018, America's Water Infrastructure Act (AWIA) was signed into law and is an amendment to the Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA). As stated by U.S. EPA, AWIA "improves drinking water and water quality, deepens infrastructure investments, enhances public health and quality of life, increases jobs, and bolsters the economy. The AWIA provisions are the most far-reaching changes to the Safe Drinking Water Act since the 1996 Amendments, with over 30 mandated programs. Title II - Drinking Water System Improvement, Sections 2001 through Section 2023, are specific to community drinking water systems. The EPA is implementing AWIA directly, however the primacy agencies (such as Wisconsin DNR) are providing technical support to their regulated community.

Significant AWIA sections and requirements

Summarized below are some of the significant new AWIA requirements relevant to Wisconsin. Additional information is available on EPA's AWIA website.

Improved Consumer Confidence Reports (AWIA Section 2008)

AWIA revises the requirements for the content, form and frequency of Consumer Confidence Reports (CCR).

  • Content: All community water systems must additionally report:
    • corrosion control efforts;
    • any action level exceedances that required corrective action.
  • Form: allows electronic delivery of CCR (effective immediately).
  • Frequency: large community water systems (serving more than 10,000 consumers) must produce and distribute consumer confidence reports twice a year.

Timeline: The timing of this implementation is dependent on EPA promulgating a new rule and is anticipated sometime after 2023. The department will keep water systems updated as we learn more from EPA.

Consolidation by Management Contract (AWIA Section 2009) and Consolidation Assessments (AWIA Section 2010)

AWIA requires that EPA issues a regulation which authorizes primacy agencies to mandate restructuring assessments for public water systems (PWSs) which frequently violate health-based standards, and which have unsuccessfully attempted, or which are unable to attempt, feasible and affordable actions to comply and must describe liability protection for a compliant PWS which is consolidating with an assessed PWS. Learn more.

Timeline: The timing of this implementation is dependent on EPA promulgating a new rule and is anticipated sometime after 2023. The department will keep water systems updated as we learn more from EPA.

Asset Management (AWIA Section 2012)

States must amend their state capacity development strategies to include a description of how the state will encourage the development of asset management plans that include best practices, training, technical assistance and other activities to help with implementation of those plans. States also must include an update of these activities to encourage asset management practices in the Governor's report. EPA must review and update, if appropriate, asset management documents and trainings every five years. Learn more about asset management.

Timeline: Effective immediately.

Risk & Resilience Assessments and Emergency Response Plans (AWIA Section 2013)

AWIA requires community water systems serving more than 3,300 people to develop or update risk assessments and emergency response plans (ERPs). The law specifies the components that the risk assessments and ERPs must address, and establishes deadlines by which water systems must certify to EPA completion of the risk assessment and ERP. Learn more.

Timeline: Effective immediately.

Source Water Petition (Protection) Programs (AWIA Section 2016)

AWIA reauthorizes funding for FY2020 and FY2021 to support the source water protection partnership petition program.

Planning for and Responding to Chemical Releases (AWIA Section 2018)

This section is intended to enhance awareness among community water system operators of:

  • a hazardous substance or an extremely hazardous substance released into the drinking water source of the water system and
  • a broader group of hazardous chemicals stored at facilities located near their water system to help facilitate emergency preparedness in the event of a release.

AWIA requires the State Emergency Response Commission (i.e. Wisconsin Emergency Management) to promptly notify the applicable state agencies (i.e. DNR Drinking Water Program) of any reportable releases that affect a community water system’s source water and provide the hazardous chemical inventory data. To learn more, see EPA’s Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act (EPCRA) guidance document that provides information for community water systems and state drinking water primacy agencies.

Timeline: Effective immediately.

Monitoring for Unregulated Contaminants (AWIA Section 2021)

AWIA expands unregulated contaminant monitoring requirements to include public water systems serving 3,300 - 10,000 individuals - subject to the availability of appropriations for this purpose and lab capacity. 

Timeline: The fifth Unregulated Contaminant Monitoring Rule (UCMR 5) was published on Dec. 27, 2021. UCMR 5 requires sample collection for 30 chemical contaminants between 2023 and 2025 using analytical methods approved by EPA. Select public water systems required to sample under the UCMR 5 will be contacted directly by the EPA.

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