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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.
Dr. Edwin Oh is an Associate Professor in the UNLV School of Medicine and the Nevada Institute of Personalized Medicine. This presentation from WEFTEC 2021 explores how the decline in diagnostic testing for SARS-CoV-2 is expected to delay the tracking of COVID-19 variants of concern and interest in the U.S. and how wastewater surveillance programs can provide an effective alternative.
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.
The Water Sector Coordinating Council (WSSC) is urging U.S. water and wastewater utilities to coordinate with state and local health departments to ensure they are included in distribution plans for the COVID-19 vaccine.
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.
Dr. Sanderson, MD, MPH of Howard University, will guide and assist WEF in providing reliable medical information to wastewater utility managers and workers, as well as conduct research and serve as a spokesperson on medical issues for the sector. The CMO position was created in a collaboration between WEF and global water technology company Xylem, which has provided foundational funding.
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.
An update and expansion on “The Water Professional’s Guide to COVID-19.”
In an effort to keep the water community informed of coronavirus developments, this update highlights the latest scientific findings, as well as topics not previously addressed. The goal is to contextualize these new results and state the implications and significance from a water and wastewater collection and treatment, public health and water resource recovery facility worker perspective.
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.
The 2019 Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV) was identified as the cause of an outbreak of respiratory illness first detected in Wuhan, China on Dec. 12, 2019. Because this disease already has begun to spread worldwide, it is important that water sector professionals keep informed on the attributions of this virus and any measures needed to protect both workers and public health, in general.
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%].