There is a lot of activity on the PFAS front! The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is prioritizing addressing these “forever chemicals” to keep our water supply safe. PFAS can accumulate and persist in the human body for long periods of time. A variety of studies indicate that long-term exposure to these compounds can lead to negative health and immunological effects.
Proposed Regulation of Six PFAS Compounds
The EPA has proposed a National Primary Drinking Water Regulation (NPDWR) for six PFAS including perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA), perfluorooctane sulfonic acid (PFOS), perfluorononanoic acid (PFNA), hexafluoropropylene oxide dimer acid (HFPO-DA, commonly known as GenX Chemicals), perfluorohexane sulfonic acid (PFHxS), and perfluorobutane sulfonic acid (PFBS) with Maximum Contaminant Levels (MCLs) listed in the table below. This rule is open for public comment under Docket ID: EPA-HQ-OW-2022-0114 at www.regulations.gov until May 30, 2023.
|Compound||Proposed MCLG||Proposed MCL (enforceable levels)|
|PFOA||Zero||4.0 parts per trillion (also expressed as ng/L)|
|HFPO-DA (commonly referred to as GenX Chemicals)|
Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking
In September 2022, the EPA proposed a rule to designate two PFAS — perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) and perfluorooctanesulfonic acid (PFOS), and their salts and structural isomers — as hazardous substances. EPA is currently reviewing comments received on this proposed rule.
On April 13, 2023, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued an Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (ANPRM) asking the public for input regarding potential future hazardous substance designations of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS). The EPA is seeking input on whether to propose designating additional PFAS, such as HFPO-DA, sometimes called GenX, and compounds that degrade in the environment by processes such as biodegradation, photolysis, and hydrolysis, to form certain PFAS. EPA is also seeking information on whether some PFAS compounds can or should be designated as a group or category.
This rule is open under docket EPA-HQ-OLEM-2022-0922 at www.regulations.gov. This ANPRM will be open for a 60-day comment period through June 12, 2023.
Funding Support for PFAS Contaminants
In February 2023, the EPA announced $2 billion are available from President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law to address emerging contaminants, including PFAS, in drinking water across the country. This investment allocates funding to states and territories through grants from EPA’s Emerging Contaminants in Small or Disadvantaged Communities (EC-SDC) Grant Program. Funding is intended to promote access to safe and clean water in small, rural, and disadvantaged communities while supporting local economies.
EPA released a document addressing Emerging Contaminants in Small or Disadvantaged Communities Grant Implementation. The implementation document provides states and communities with the information necessary to use this funding to address local water quality and public health challenges. These grants will enable communities to improve local water infrastructure and reduce emerging contaminants in drinking water by implementing solutions such as installing necessary treatment solutions.
EPA Implementation Manual: Emerging Contaminants Grant Implementation Manual
Help Navigating Changing PFAS Regulations
PFAS regulations and treatment requirements are changing rapidly. Our team is here to help you navigate these changing waters, address new PFAS detection and treatment technologies, 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.
If your facility needs support in understanding and planning for changing PFAS regulations, Kennedy Jenks can help with both preparing a response plan and navigating new or updated treatment solutions for PFAS.
Keep in mind, of course, that this article is for information purposes only and does not substitute as professional advice for how to handle specific situations that may arise.
Want to learn more? To start a conversation with our PFAS team, contact us today:Contact Us
For more information regarding the EPA’s PFAS Roadmap and recent PFAS actions:
For information about communicating these challenging topics with your customers and public stakeholders, we suggest reviewing the following resources from AWWA: