A Quick Glance at EPA’s New PFAS Regulations

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Earlier this month, the U.S. EPA put forth new regulations in regards to per- and polyfluorinated substances (PFAS). These regulations include; new drinking water standards and guidance for PFAS, updated interim disposal guidance for PFAS, and the designation of two specific PFAS (PFOA and PFOS) as regulated hazardous substances under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act (CERCLA).

New PFAS Drinking Water Standards

The finalized drinking water standards include limits on multiple types of PFAS including PFOA, PFOS, PFNA, PFHxS and HFPO-DA. This rule also establishes a timeline for when public water systems must complete initial monitoring for the PFAS, make those results public, and if/when actions must be taken to reduce PFAS levels. For specific limits and to learn more about this regulation, please check out EPA’s PFAS National Primary Drinking Water Regulation Fact Sheet.

New Interim Guidance on the Destruction and Disposal of PFAS

The EPA is required to update its PFAS destruction and disposal guidance every three years in an effort to incorporate new emerging disposal and destruction technologies. This month the agency released its updated version which addresses PFAS destruction and disposal in a variety of waste streams, including:

  • Solid, liquid, or gas waste streams originating from facilities manufacturing or using PFAS
  • Aqueous film-forming foam (AFFF)
  • Soils and biosolids
  • Textiles and consumer goods
  • Spent water treatment materials
  • Landfill leachate

The interim guidance outlines three common and commercially available destruction and disposal technologies that could be effective for managing PFAS and PFAS-contaminated materials:

  • Thermal treatment
  • Landfilling
  • Underground injection

To read the full document available for public comment, click here.

PFOA and PFOS Designated CERCLA Hazardous Substances by the EPA

Through CERCLA, the EPA has the authority to respond to the release or potential release of hazardous substances that may endanger human health and the environment. This designation places new requirements related to PFAS releases into the environment and the remediation of PFAS-contamination:

  • Releases of PFOA and PFOS that meet or exceed one pound per 24-hour period must be reported to the National Response Center or the appropriate state agency.
  • Federal entities that sell or transfer properties known to have stored, released or disposed of PFOA or PFOS must certify that any PFAS contaminants have been cleaned up.

To view the pre-publication of the final rule that designates PFOA and PFOS as CERCLA Hazardous Substances, visit: https://www.epa.gov/system/files/documents/2024-04/pre-publication_final-rule-cercla-pfoa-pfos-haz-sub.pdf

We fully understand that new regulations can be difficult to decipher and understand and we are committed to helping our clients fully understand what they mean and their implications. Over the next few months, we will be developing summaries of these regulations which will be published on our website. If you have any questions or concerns in the meantime about how this may impact your business, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us at https://iwrc.uni.edu/contact-us.