On February 14, 2019, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released its Per- and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances (PFAS) Action Plan. This historic PFAS Action Plan identifies immediate, short-term and long-term actions that EPA has pledged to take in response to extensive public interest and input that the agency has received over this group of contaminants. The Action Plan represents a proactive, cross-agency approach including a multi-media, multi-program plan to address this ever-emerging environmental challenge. EPA will develop a PFAS risk communication toolbox that includes materials that states, tribes, and local partners can use to effectively communicate with the public. Continuing analytical method development, monitoring and research efforts will be undertaken to increase understanding about potential human health impacts of additional PFAS including GenX and to identify robust and cost-effective treatment & remediation technologies for PFAS in the environment.
Highlights of the Action Plan are as:
“The PFAS Action Plan is the most comprehensive cross-agency plan to address an emerging chemical of concern ever undertaken by EPA,” said EPA Acting Administrator Andrew Wheeler. “For the first time in Agency history, we utilized all of our program offices to construct an all-encompassing plan to help states and local communities address PFAS and protect our nation’s drinking water. We are moving forward with several important actions, including the maximum contaminant level process, that will help affected communities better monitor, detect, and address PFAS.”
EPA is moving forward with the Safe Drinking Water Act’s (SDWA) Maximum Contaminant Level (MCL) process for PFOA and PFOS by proposing a regulatory determination by the end of 2019. EPA will also evaluate whether a broader class of PFAS should be regulated in drinking water. Most significantly, EPA announced that it has already begun the regulatory development process to list two compounds, PFOA and PFOS, as CERCLA hazardous substances. EPA also indicated its intention to develop guidance for groundwater cleanup for PFOA and PFOS in 2019. EPA will use available enforcement tools to address PFAS exposure in the environment and assist states in enforcement activities. The Plan will affect compliance obligations and costs and enforcement actions for current and past manufacturers and users of PFAS.
To view the full action plan, visit: https://www.epa.gov/pfas/epas-pfas-action-plan
Authored By: Ziqi He, PhD, PE – Senior Engineer, HSW Consulting