On Thursday, February 14, Acting EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler announced the agency’s Plan of Action for Per- and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances (PFAS) and our experts were in attendance. The goal of the Plan is to identify and mitigate risks associated with PFAS in the environment. The administrators held a press conference from the agency’s Region III office, simulcast to the nine additional regional offices — a first for the EPA in terms of multimedia communications.
The PFAS Action Plan follows a significant stakeholder comment period and incorporates the feedback of federal, state, tribal, and community partners with whom the EPA will work to identify and mitigate risks associated with environmental presence of PFAS.
The Action Plan identifies EPA-led short-term actions, longer-term research, and potential regulatory approaches designed to reduce the risks associated with PFAS in the environment:
- Proceeding with process for setting Maximum Contaminant Levels (MCLs) for drinking water; expect to issue a Regulatory Determination by the end of 2019;
- Adding PFAS to the CERCLA hazardous substances list to assist with enforcement and cost recovery options;
- Increasing PFAS monitoring in the environment and drinking water supply systems and considering adding PFAS to the toxics release program;
- Continuing EPA enforcement actions based on existing Health Advisory of 70 parts per trillion; eight issued to date and EPA assisting states with many others;
- Expanding research on PFAS, particularly in the areas of human health and ecological toxicity; PFAS sources; fate and transport pathways; cost-effectiveness of cleanup and treatment technologies; and providing research support to stakeholders
Wheeler also announced future development of a PFAS Risk Communication Toolbox for use by various EPA Regions, states and territories and other stakeholders.
Many states have already either implemented state specific drinking water standards for PFAS as a group (e.g., RI, CT) or individually (NJ, NH), and/or are requiring sampling and analysis for existing or proposed water supplies, and at hazardous waste sites. The Interstate Technology Regulatory Council has compiled state-by-state information and will continue to update as PFAS mitigation progresses.
We combine our skills, innovation, and strategic thinking to help clients understand and address the issues connected to PFAS and other emerging contaminants, and can help you stay a step ahead. If you have questions about this announcement or other related issues, please contact me or my colleagues, Dan Bryant and Lisa McIntosh.