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The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) today issued new, more rigorous drinking water health advisories for per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS). Two of these levels are drastically more stringent than previous levels and likely mean hundreds, if not thousands, of drinking water systems nationwide will be affected. The agency also announced up to $5 billion in grant funding to help communities prepare and deal with these contaminants. Here is what water sector utilities need to know.
At the July 2021 meeting of the American Association of Plant Food Control Officials (AAPFCO; Arlington, Virginia), the organization recognized a new method to measure water-extractable phosphorus (WEP) for fertilizer products. The results from this method highlight the slower release of phosphate-phosphorus from biosolids-based (and other carbon-based) products. AAPFCO also determined that making labeling claims of slowly available phosphate for carbon-based products was allowable.
A panel of wastewater and public health experts has determined that occupational risk of COVID-19 infection for wastewater workers is low. The panel also found that standard wastewater treatment processes inactivate the virus and additional research should be conducted to further increase understanding of hazards and protections for personnel.
To provide further clarification on the virus that causes COVID-19 infections and concerns about how it relates to residuals, sludge, and biosolids for water resource recovery facilities (WRRFs) as well as the wastewater sector at large, this article includes a review of available data related to the virus and surrogates as well as their potential associations with residuals, sludge, and biosolids.
WEF is concerned about PFAS in communities. Protecting public health and the environment is the daily mission of water professionals. Utilities are not generators or users of PFAS so they should not be penalized by legislation or regulation.
WEF has made access free to “Biological Hazards at Wastewater Treatment Facilities,” via Access Water. This book chapter is written by water professionals for water professionals to help protect them against workplace exposure to pathogens, including viruses.
A study published by the Lancet reported that as of Jan. 2, 2020 the most common symptoms at onset of illness were fever [98%], cough [76%], and myalgia, or fatigue [44%]. Less common symptoms were sputum production [28%], headache [8%], haemoptysis (coughing up blood) [5%], and diarrhea [3%].