COVID-19 and the U.S. Drinking Water Supply: What We Know Now

As the nation grapples with COVID-19, we wanted to pass along information from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) that may not be relayed as frequently as other critical details and advice on prevention and awareness.

Presently, the CDC states that COVID-19 has not been detected in drinking water, and that conventional water treatment methods that use filtration and disinfection (like those found in most municipal drinking water systems) should be effective in removing or …

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Paper or Plastic: Why This Should No Longer be an Option

Across the United States, local governments and state legislatures have focused their efforts on reducing and/or eliminating the use of plastic bags at grocery stores and other businesses. Such a reduction is significant to reducing harmful impacts suffered in oceans, lakes, rivers, forests, and other natural habitats for creatures. Furthermore, the implementation of regulations and bans prohibiting the use and sale of plastic bags focuses on improvements in recycling efforts, which is aimed to increase awareness of the negative side effects of the prevalent use …

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A Lighter Touch: USACE Withdraws Water Supply Rule

The law of administrative agencies creates a unique incentive system.  In many cases, the legislature grants broad authority over a given field to an administrative agency, empowering the agency to both create and enforce rules governing that field.  There is some judicial oversight that controls how agencies make and enforce their rules. However, courts recognize that the agencies have greater expertise in their fields of authority, and they therefore grant a measure of deference to administrative agencies in reviewing agency actions. Generally, the more formal the …

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Power to the City: New Jersey Appellate Court Affirms Municipal Courts may Enforce Spill Act

The New Jersey Court of Appeals provided greater flexibility to the state’s Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) in enforcing the New Jersey Spill Act. A DEP employee filed a complaint against Alsol Corporation in municipal court in Milltown, New Jersey. In the complaint, the DEP made bare allegations that Alsol failed to remediate certain property in violation of the New Jersey Spill Act (N.J.A.C. 7:26C-2.3(a)). Although the regulation is detailed and complex, DEP’s complaint merely alleged the date of Alsol’s alleged violation.

Alsol responded by moving to …

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EPA Taps Public for Comment on Water Reuse Plans

Water scarcity is a growing concern for the EPA, as discussed in depth in its National Water Reuse Action Plan issued this week.

The plan outlines ways that the EPA can work with state and local governments to promote water reuse and support research into new technologies. Due to various pressures, 80 percent of U.S. states anticipate water shortages in some parts of their states in the next decade. Over the past several decades, agriculture, industry, and communities have faced water crises and responded through …

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New York Continues to Lead Nation in Regulation and Removal of 1,4-Dioxane

New York continues to strengthen its regulatory approach to 1,4-dioxane. Last month, the state Department of Health adopted the nation’s first maximum contaminant level (MCL) for 1,4-dioxane in drinking water, The regulation is working its way toward implementation and is now in the public comment period. Following assessment of public comments, the proposed regulation will either be revised or submitted for adoption by the Public Health and Health Planning Council. The regulation will then go into effect upon publication of a Notice of Adoption in the New …

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Federal PFAS Regulation Around the Corner?

The Senate and House both are considering Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) regulations this summer. Last month, the Senate began inching closer to consensus on certain regulations. Following two hearings in the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, the PFAS Release Disclosure Act was considered in committee and filed as an amendment to S. 1790, the National Defense Authorization Act heading to the Senate floor.

The Senate PFAS legislation would require reporting of PFAS releases as part of the Toxic Release Inventory Reporting program, address …

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Regulatory Alert: EPA Publishes Draft Risk Evaluations for 1,4-Dioxane and HBCD

Last week, the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued controversial draft risk evaluations for 1,4-Dioxane and Cyclic Aliphatic Bromide Cluster (HBCD), two of 10 chemicals subject to scrutiny under the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA). Under the Frank Lautenberg Chemical Safety for the 21st Century Act which amended the TSCA in 2016, the EPA is required to publish information regarding “hazards, exposures, conditions of use and potentially exposed or susceptible subpopulations,” regarding the enumerated chemicals. These risk evaluations are open for public comment for …

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Global Plastic Proliferation – An Emerging Climate Threat

From teeming landfills, choked rivers, and Pacific Ocean garbage gyres, to potential harm to marine and animal life from micro-plastic debris spanning the poles to the deepest part of the oceans, the growing proliferation of plastics is triggering a growing realization that the world has a plastics problem. This is not just an environmental pollution problem. Scientists are beginning to understand that plastics – from cradle to grave – potentially could have an unrealized significant impact on global climate change.

Earlier this month, the Center …

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Environmental Study of Glyphosate Raises Issues Beyond Personal Injury Litigation

Aside from toxic tort litigation pertaining to the use of glyphosate, a recent study has evaluated environmental issues pertaining to the world’s most widely used herbicide.

The study, out of McGill University, evaluates whether glyphosate may contribute to environmental phosphorus levels. Phosphorus pollution in U.S. water bodies is a major concern of the EPA, which has stated that nutrient pollution (phosphorus and nitrogen) is one of the country’s most widespread, costly, and challenging environmental problems. Phosphorus, although naturally existing, has also been added to the …

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