Entries by Brett Walton

Federal Water Tap, October 19: White House Order Formalizes Water Subcabinet

The Rundown The Trump administration wants to coordinate water-related activities in the cabinet agencies. The EPA finalizes two rules that relax requirements for coal ash disposal. The EPA and other agencies work to develop a national map showing which wetlands and streams are regulated under the Clean Water Act. CDC researchers contribute to a study […]

Chart: Customer Water Debt Data in 12 U.S. Cities

Millions of U.S. households are behind on their water bills, but the size of the debts and the number of indebted customers varies substantially. Circle of Blue used public records requests to collect data on overdue bills from a dozen large U.S. cities. Though businesses owe money to water departments, the majority of debts represent […]

Michigan Allocates $20 Million to Relieve Customer Water Debts

Michigan is using federal CARES Act funding to help residents pay off past-due water bills that accrued during the pandemic.

Lack of Utility Data Obscures Customer Water Debt Problems

Inadequate data hampers understanding of who is most affected by overdue water bills.

Federal Water Tap, October 12: Supreme Court Begins October Session with Interstate Water Dispute

The Rundown The nation’s highest court has several water-related cases on the horizon, starting with the Pecos River. House Democrats want the CDC to halt water shutoffs during the pandemic. The House passes a bill to clean up plastic pollution in waterways. A bipartisan group of lawmakers ask three federal agencies to protect schools from […]

House Democrats Ask CDC to Halt Water Shutoffs during the Pandemic

The CDC already moved to suspend evictions. Could water service be the next target for a national moratorium?

Federal Water Tap, October 5: Army Corps Evaluates Multibillion-Dollar Flood Projects for Houston

The Rundown The Army Corps of Engineers wants public input as it assesses ways to reduce flood risk along Houston waterways. FEMA begins accepting applications for $500 million in flood resilience grants. The Department of Health and Human Services wants to test sewage as a coronavirus early-warning system. Three agencies sign a new management plan […]

Explainer: Who regulates U.S. drinking water, and how?

Who’s responsible for making sure drinking water is safe? Ultimately, you are. But in the U.S., federal, state and local entities are also involved. 

Federal Water Tap, September 28: Lead and Copper Rule Revision Coming Soon

The Rundown As fires continue to burn in California, the EPA drafts a template for water utilities to handle electric power shutoffs. The USDA announces $268 million for rural water and sewer infrastructure. The EPA’s internal watchdog will audit the agency’s selection process for a water and sewer loan program. The EPA reaches an agreement […]

Federal Water Tap, September 21: EPA Updates Clean Water Act Affordability Guidance

The Rundown The EPA proposes a more nuanced examination of how sewer system upgrades affect the finances of people in the lowest income brackets. Bureau of Reclamation models show a higher risk of low reservoir levels in the Colorado River basin. The State Department expands a Lower Mekong basin partnership that focuses on water management. […]

‘A Lot of Catastrophe’: Louisiana Water Systems Still Reeling from Hurricane Laura

Nearly three weeks after the Hurricane Laura, more than 30 water systems in the state are still not operating.

Federal Water Tap, September 14: Regulator Warns of Climate Risk in Financial System

The Rundown A financial regulator warns of climate risk and advocates for a carbon price. The Senate failed to pass a pandemic relief package. NOAA forecasters say that La Niña conditions have developed. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service releases a draft assessment of Oklahoma City’s plan to minimize harm to an endangered beetle while […]