07.19.2022  |  Expert Insights

What does the EPA’s PFAS Health Advisory mean to your utility?

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Written by Charlie Liu and Stephen Timko

 

Get ready now for upcoming changes to PFAS regulations this fall! While there is more to come from the EPA, utilities can act now to prepare for the upcoming regulations—and Kennedy Jenks can help with both preparing a response plan and navigating new or updated treatment solutions for PFAS.

What does the EPA PFAS Health Advisory say?

In June 2022, The U.S. EPA announced new drinking water health advisory levels (HAs) for four per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) compounds. One billion dollars in funding will be available to states and territories through the “Emerging Contaminants in Small or Disadvantaged Communities” grant program, which supports efforts to address PFAS and other emerging contaminants.

Updated interim HAs issued for perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) and perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS) replace those issued by the U.S. EPA in 2016. The announcement also included two new health advisory levels for perfluorobutane sulfonic acid and its potassium salt (PFBS) and for hexafluoropropylene oxide (HFPO) dimer acid and its ammonium salt (known as “GenX chemicals”).

These non-enforceable, non-regulatory advisories precede draft federal regulations of PFAS in drinking water that are anticipated in fall of 2022. PFBS and GenX chemicals are PFASs used to replace PFOA and PFOS.

 

Chemical Health Advisory Level (ppt, ng/L)
PFOA 0.004 (Interim)
PFOS 0.02 (Interim)
GenX Chemicals 10 (Final)
PFBS 2,000 (Final)

 

What the U.S. EPA’s PFAS health advisory means for utilities

The new interim HAs for PFOA and PFOS are 1,000 to 10,000 times lower than before and are below the current analytical detection limits for these compounds. These HAs are also currently lower than limits set by individual states.

Our team is here to help you navigate these changing waters, address the updated HA limits, and prepare for forthcoming regulations from the EPA. In recent years, KJ has overseen more than 15 PFAS treatment feasibility, design, or construction management projects in multiple states.

Until we know more about the regulations issued this fall, we recommend that utilities continue to communicate clearly with their customers and the public about current and upcoming PFAS monitoring and/or treatment activities.

Contact us today

Want to learn more? To start a conversation with our PFAS team, contact us today:

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Additional Resources

For more information regarding the EPA HA announcements and response from the American Water Works Association (AWWA), visit:

 

For information about communicating these challenging topics with your customers and public stakeholders, we suggest reviewing the following resources from AWWA:

 

 

 

 

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