Clean Water Current

EPA Expected to Propose Rule Designating PFOA and PFOS as Hazardous Substances

Aug 24, 2022

NACWA has learned that EPA is expected to propose a rule in the coming days designating two of the most common PFAS chemicals, PFOA and PFOS, as a hazardous substance under the federal Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA) – also known as the Superfund law. 

It is anticipated that EPA will post a pre-publication version of the proposed rule on its website first, followed by publication a few weeks later in the Federal Register.  Publication in the Federal Register will then trigger a 60-day public comment period, and EPA has a goal of finalizing the rule by August 2023. 

While the decision by EPA to list PFOA and PFOS under CERCLA is not surprising – the Agency has been signaling for some time that such a rule was under consideration – it nevertheless marks a significant step forward in EPA’s work to regulate PFAS chemicals.

NACWA and others in the water sector have supported efforts to reduce the amount of PFAS in the environment but have also expressed significant concerns about the potential implications and liabilities for municipal clean water utilities from a CERCLA designation – particularly since clean water utilities are passive receivers of the chemicals.

Additional details of EPA’s proposed rule have not yet been made public, but NACWA will provide the membership with additional information and analysis as soon as more information about the proposal is available.  In the meantime, please do not hesitate to contact Nathan Gardner-Andrews, NACWA’s Chief Advocacy & Policy Officer, with questions.  

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