Water Coalition Against PFAS Commends House Introduction of the Water Systems PFAS Liability Protection Act to Shield Water Systems and Ratepayers from Increased Costs and Hold Polluters Accountable

Apr 16, 2024

Bipartisan legislation introduced by Reps. Curtis and Gluesenkamp Perez will advance “polluter pays” principle for PFAS

April 16, 2024 -- Washington, DC – Today, the Water Coalition Against PFAS, a coalition of drinking water and wastewater sector organizations, applauded the introduction of bipartisan legislation that would provide a statutory shield for water systems under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA) for PFAS, and help ensure that polluters, not the public, pay for PFAS cleanup.

Introduced by Reps. John Curtis (R-UT) and Marie Gluesenkamp Perez (D-WA), H.R. 7944 is a companion bill to Senate legislation introduced by Sen. Cynthia Lummis (R-WY) last year. The bill provides statutory protection for water utilities in light of the upcoming designation of PFOA and PFOS – types of PFAS – as hazardous substances by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) under CERCLA. The agency is currently finalizing that rule. A CERCLA designation for PFAS exposes drinking water and wastewater utilities to potential litigation from the manufacturers of PFAS. PFAS users and producers can abuse litigation to reduce their own clean-up costs and increase costs on water utilities – costs that utilities are then forced to pass along to ratepayers.

The impacts that a PFAS CERCLA hazardous substance designation will have on the ability of the water sector to deliver affordable water services cannot be overstated,” said Adam Krantz, CEO of the National Association of Clean Water Agencies (NACWA). “We need a true ‘polluter pays’ model that holds accountable the parties responsible for PFAS contamination. But given the ubiquity of PFAS after decades of use – and their ongoing release into our waterways from industrial sites, commercial uses, and household products – broad CERCLA designations would instead threaten the financial stability of water utilities all across the U.S. NACWA thanks Rep. Curtis and Rep. Gluesenkamp Perez for working in a bipartisan fashion to shield communities from these misplaced burdens and appropriately refocusing liability on PFAS producers. We look forward to continuing to support efforts that prioritize source control and ensure polluters pay.” 

Last month, the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee held a hearing titled, “Examining PFAS as Hazardous Substances,” where witnesses documented the potential impact to water systems and their customers of a CERCLA designation due to the pervasiveness of PFAS in the environment. The prevalence of PFAS means that drinking water and wastewater systems, which passively receive these substances into their systems, would face CERCLA liability through their efforts to actually remove PFAS from water supplies and provide clean and safe water. The Water Systems PFAS Liability Protection Act will protect water systems and their customers from this unjust outcome of EPA’s proposed rule.

Media Contact:­

Nathan Gardner-Andrews | NACWA Chief Advocacy & Policy Officer

(703) 774-6513, ngardner-andrews@nacwa.org


About the Water Coalition Against PFAS

The Water Coalition Against PFAS includes organizations whose membership represent all facets of clean and safe water delivery – the Association of Metropolitan Water Agencies (AMWA), the American Water Works Association (AWWA), the National Association of Clean Water Agencies (NACWA), the National Association of Water Companies (NAWC), the National Rural Water Association (NRWA), and the Water Environment Federation (WEF).  The Coalition advocates for responsible PFAS policies that will result in a “polluter pays” approach to dealing with PFAS contamination.

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