EPA Finalizes Drinking Water Standards for PFAS Pollution

On Wednesday, April 10, the Biden Administration issued the first-ever national drinking water standard to mitigate the exposure to harmful per-and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) in drinking water, popularly known as “forever chemicals.”

The new limits are expected to spur development in the water utility market and have garnered criticism about feasibility and affordability. The administration also announced the availability of $1 billion in Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA) funding for public water systems.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) rule sets limits for five individual PFAS: PFOA, PFOS, PFNA, PFHxS, and HFPO-DA (commonly known as “GenX Chemicals”).

EPA set a Maximum Contaminant Level Goal, which is a non-enforceable health-based goal, at zero. For PFOA and PFOS, individually, the EPA set an enforceable Maximum Contaminant Level at 4.0 parts per trillion, which, according to the EPA, sets these PFAS exposure levels to the lowest level possible that is feasible for implementation. The EPA has set the Maximum Contaminant Level Goal and Maximum Contaminant Level at 10 parts per trillion for PFNA, PFHxS and “GenX Chemicals.” Additionally, the EPA is setting a limit for any mixture or two or more of four different types of PFAS: PFNA, PFHxS, PFBS and “GenX Chemicals.”

Per the administration’s guidelines, all public drinking water systems must complete their initial monitoring for the five PFAS chemicals within the next three years and must alert the public of the level of PFAS recorded in the drinking water. If the water system discovers that the PFAS found exceed the allowed levels, they must implement solutions to reduce PFAS in the drinking water within five years. According to the EPA, excess levels of PFAS will be found in roughly 6-10% of water systems throughout the country, affecting around 100 million individuals.

In addition to outlining the regulatory framework around PFAS, the EPA announced $1 billion in newly available funding through the IIJA to help states and territories implement PFAS testing and treatment at public water systems and in homeowners’ privately owned wells. This funding is part of a $9 billion investment within the IIJA to help communities with drinking water impacted by PFAS and other contaminants.

Some members of the business community have concerns about the scientific foundation of this rule and its feasibility and affordability in action. ACG will continue to monitor the implementation of these regulations and any potential additional regulations surrounding PFAS.

If you have any questions on PFAS, please reach out to John Chambers or Melinda Tomaino

Showing 1 reaction

Please check your e-mail for a link to activate your account.