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PFAS, Nutrient Studies Continue for EPA Effluent Guidelines Plan

February 4, 2021

(February 4, 2021) – EPA announced its Final Effluent Guidelines Program Plan 14 in the January 11 Federal Register. The Plan is published every two years to outline EPA’s planned studies and rulemakings related to effluent guidelines and pretreatment standards for industrial dischargers. 

In the Plan, EPA announced that it would be continuing its studies of PFAS and nutrient discharges from industries. EPA is planning to publish an advanced notice of proposed rulemaking to solicit more data on PFAS manufacturers, which would be the first step leading to an eventual effluent guideline for this industry.

The studies of PFAS from the pulp and paper manufacturers, textile and carpet manufacturers, airports, and metal finisher categories will also continue. For nutrients, EPA is prioritizing further study for nitrogen discharges from the fertilizer and explosives manufacturing categories, and for phosphorus discharges from the plastics molding and forming and miscellaneous food and beverage categories. 

EPA also described its previous work on the oil and gas extraction wastewater management category and announced that it will be revising the centralized waste treaters category to “allow more flexibility in the discharge, and ultimately the management of treated produced waters for agricultural uses, reuse for oil recovery, and other uses to alleviate water scarcity." 

Additionally, EPA will be continuing its detailed study of the electrical and electronic components (E&EC) category and the initiation of a detailed study for the meat and poultry products category. 

NACWA submitted comments on the draft Plan, supporting the continued study of PFAS and nutrient dischargers and the E&EC category.  EPA welcomes any data from utilities related to its ongoing studies. Please contact Cynthia Finley for more information. 

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