NACWA Releases PFAS Considerations Document for Utilities

NACWA is pleased to release a new document, A Clean Water Utility’s Guide to Considering Source Identification, Pretreatment, and Sampling Protocols for PFAS, designed to provide helpful information to utilities that are dealing with growing questions around PFAS chemicals in wastewater or biosolids.

This document illuminates key actions that several utilities have already considered in response to growing federal and state regulatory interest in PFAS, especially states that are pushing for voluntary or mandatory testing for PFAS in wastewater and/or biosolids.  The document is intended to help the broader clean water utility community in understanding how to tackle these complex questions ― like how to identify industrial PFAS sources, what pretreatment steps utilities can take, what challenges utilities may encounter with sampling, and how to communicate PFAS issues with the public. 

While the document does not provide any legal advice or establish any recommended best practices on PFAS issues, it may provide some helpful considerations for utilities seeking information on how to address this challenging topic.  It was developed as a joint effort of NACWA’s PFAS Workgroup, which consists of NACWA member utilities that have already been faced with state regulatory and legislative actions and requests. The workgroup’s mission is to help clean water utilities that have not yet addressed similar PFAS questions best prepare their utility on regulatory, legislative, and legal responses, as well as to effectively communicate with the media and public on the complexities of the PFAS issue.

The publication of this document is particularly relevant given this week’s nationwide release of Dark Waters―a PFAS-centric movie―that brings to light the legacy contamination of water supplies by DuPont’s Teflon manufacturing in Parkersburg, West Virginia. The film features Mark Ruffalo and Anne Hathaway and is likely to further raise public concerns over PFAS in drinking water supplies across the country and what environmental regulators and clean water utilities are doing to protect communities.

NACWA has a wealth of PFAS resources for member utilities, including media talking points, a background webinar, an opinion editorial for use in local media, and a variety of legislative and regulatory documents.  Utilities with any questions about PFAS or NACWA’s efforts can contact Emily Remmel, NACWA’s Director of Regulatory Affairs.