(September 18, 2018) - Media coverage on per- and poly-fluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) continues to put pressure on EPA to develop a maximum contaminant level (MCL) under the Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA) and to designate these chemical constituents as a hazardous substance either under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA) or through another statutory mechanism.
The media storm comes after high levels of contamination were recently found at sites in Parchment, MI and elsewhere. NACWA attended an event on September 12 aimed to help individuals better understand these emerging contaminants. The event, The Use of PFAS at Industrial and Military Facilities: Technical, Regulatory, and Legal Issues, was hosted by the Environmental Law Institute in Washington. DC.
Of note, Eric Burneson, Director of EPA’s Standards and Risk Management Division within the Office of Groundwater and Drinking Water, reiterated the Agency’s efforts to date, which include the planned publication of a PFAS Management Plan by the end of this calendar year. Burneson also highlighted EPA’s current PFAS activities at waste sites—how they are tackling these constituents when found in water—as well as during the manufacturing process and the Agency’s ongoing research efforts.
Subject matter experts Dr. Rula Deeb and Virginia Yingling also explained the scientific foundation and the complicated nature of detecting and treating PFOA and PFOS in the environment, and the nearly 3,000 similarly structured chemical constituents like GenX. The current legal framework was covered by Adam Baas. Information from these presentations is available below: