EPA Officials provide update on COVID-19 response

May 5, 2020
In a webinar for Water Week, a lobbying event for the water industry, members of the EPA Office of Water addressed a virtual audience.

WASHINGTON, DC – During Water Week 2020, a lobbying event for the water industry, two representatives of the EPA Office of Water addressed audiences in a webinar.

Andrew Sawyers, the director of the Office of Wastewater Management, and Jennifer McLain, the director of the Office of Ground Water and Drinking Water, were guests of Water Week 2020 – Insights from Washington, DC,” a webinar held online in lieu of in-person lobbying efforts that usually take place on Capitol Hill.

“While the National Water Policy Fly-In has been cancelled, we believe it is imperative to move full-speed ahead with Water Week, April 26th – May 2nd, 2020 as a virtual event with opportunities to participate in a variety of ways, especially given the enormous national challenges we are currently facing,” toe organizers said in a statement.

Sawyers said the agency is working “very closely with the research community, including the CDC to better understand the virus and disinfection-related issues in wastewater.” We are working closely with the CDC to better understand surveillance.

Sawyers also noted that the agency is working to complete a revision of its affordability guidance, but he does not yet have a timeline for publishing a draft version.

McLain, said that her office is working with the Department of Homeland Security to secure water treatment chemicals after reports that some utilities were having trouble acquiring carbon dioxide because of the shutdown of ethanol plants, and less cars on the road due to stay at home orders across the country.

“The discussions we have with all of you are really informing the work we are doing,” she said, addressing the lobbying efforts of the water industry members on the live webinar. “In bringing this to EPAs attention, it allowed us to make sure that the resources are available.”

“We must at this juncture, keep our message loud and clear as never before,” NACWA CEO Adam Krantz, one of the organizers of the online event, said.

Other sponsoring organizations included the American Membrane Technology Association (AMTA), Association of Clean Water Adminitrators (ACWA), American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE), AWWA, Council of Infrastructure Financing Authorities (CIFA), WEF, the US Water Alliance, WateReuse Foundation, and the Water Research Foundation, among others. Learn more at waterweek.us.

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