NACWA Weighs in on EPA’s Interim Guidance for Destroying or Disposing of PFAS
(February 24, 2021) – NACWA submitted comments to EPA February 22 on the Agency’s recent Interim PFAS Destruction and Disposal Guidance. The draft Interim Guidance was a product of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2020 (FY 2020 NDAA), which directed EPA to publish within one year an informational document that addresses the current state of knowledge and the scientific gaps in the destruction and disposal of PFAS.
While the Interim Guidance is more informational in nature and not intended to dictate any EPA policy or carry the weight of regulation, NACWA has several concerns with how EPA characterizes the land application of biosolids, and more broadly, how the Interim Guidance discusses biosolids without fully acknowledging the actual sources of PFAS in wastewater.
EPA considered the land application of biosolids beyond the scope of the Interim Guidance (e.g., land application is not a destruction or disposal method), but NACWA highlighted in its comments that additional clarity is needed.
In particular, NACWA noted that there is no mention of the Clean Water Act’s Industrial Pretreatment Program as a mechanism for source control or that EPA is currently working through its problem formulation/risk assessment. Without more context, the Interim Guidance’s information on biosolids, as written, seems to unintentionally tilt readers towards an inference that land application of biosolids is an uncontrolled source of PFAS to the environment.
NACWA will continue to follow the progress of this Interim Guidance as EPA reviews comments and will also track whether EPA performs updates or revisions to the document every 3 years as required by the FY 2020 NDAA. If members have questions, please contact Emily Remmel, NACWA’s Director of Regulatory Affairs.