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EPA to Consider Removal of De Minimis Exception for PFAS Under Reporting Rule

Apr 20, 2022

As part of the 2020 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), 172 PFAS chemicals were added to the Toxic Release Inventory (TRI), requiring certain facilities to report annual management activities involving these chemicals and releases under the Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act.

NACWA applauded this effort in comments submitted to EPA, noting that the greater transparency required by this effort would help the clean water community better understand upstream sources and quantities of PFAS entering treatment systems.

Recently, in a positive reflection of the TRI program, EPA published its 2020 National Analysis finding a 10% decline in environmental releases across the spectrum of facilities required to report. However, EPA found “a seemingly limited scope of PFAS reporting” with facilities indicating 800,000 pounds of chemicals in management and around 9,000 pounds reported as releases. These amounts of PFAS reporting seem low to many experts.

Potentially leading to this underreporting, the current TRI allows for de minimis concentrations of chemicals in mixtures or trade name products to be exempt from reporting requirements—likely contributing to a significant gap in reporting and transparency for other downstream entities, like wastewater treatment plants, relying on this information.

To address this concern, EPA announced it will propose a rulemaking this summer to enhance facility reporting by changing the eligibility requirements for the de minimis exception. NACWA will continue to monitor this development and will keep members apprised of a regulatory proposal that eliminates the de minimus requirement or any other regulatory changes under the TRI.

Contact Emily Remmel, NACWA’s Director of Regulatory Affairs, for more information.

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