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EPA Unveils National PFAS Strategy

Posted on 10/29/2021 by Lauren Scott

On October 18, EPA Administrator Michael Regan announced a comprehensive Strategic Roadmap to combat per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) contamination nationwide. The Roadmap is expected to introduce PFAS limits on drinking water nationwide, designate PFAS as hazardous substances, and lay a technical foundation on PFAS air emissions.

This builds on the work started by the EPA Council on PFAS, a body established in April 2021 to address stakeholder and community concerns regarding PFAS. To date, EPA has begun a national PFAS testing strategy, re-established momentum for designating two of the most prominent PFAS, perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) and perfluorooctanesulfonic acid (PFOS), as CERCLA hazardous substances, and set national drinking water standards for these two substances.

The new Roadmap will expand EPA’s efforts to protect the public from PFAS contamination with:
  • Aggressive timelines to set enforceable drinking water limits under the Safe Drinking Water Act;
  • A hazardous substance designation under CERCLA;
  • Timelines for action on all steps of the Effluent Guideline Limitations under the Clean Water Act for nine industrial categories;
  • A review of past actions on PFAS taken under the Toxic Substances Control Act; and
  • Continued efforts to build the technical foundation needed on PFAS air emissions to inform future actions under the Clean Air Act. 

The US Federal executive branch plans to back the initiative with more than $10 billion in funding through the Build Back Better agenda and the Bipartisan Infrastructure Deal. EPA will host a public webinar on November 2 to meet with industry stakeholders.
 

PFAS Legislation in the Works

This summer, Congress passed the PFAS Action Act of 2021. If enacted, the bill could compel EPA to designate PFOA and PFOS as hazardous substances under CERCLA and determine whether PFAS should be designated as toxic pollutants under the Clean Water Act.

In addition, EPA would be required to issue national primary drinking water regulations for PFAS that, at a minimum, include standards for PFOA and PFOS by amending the Safe Drinking Water Act.

The PFAS Action Act of 2021 has been referred to the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works.

Many states recently introduced legislation to restrict PFAS in consumer products and food packaging, including MaineVermont, and Washington.
 

Convenient, Effective Online EHS Manager Training

Managing site compliance with the many complex EPA programs that affect your business—from the Clean Air and Clean Water Acts to TSCA, EPCRA, CERLCA, and more—is a major challenge. If you’re new to the field or need an update on changing EPA rules, online training is a convenient way to quickly build in-depth expertise.

The Complete Environmental Regulations online course will prepare you to identify your site's liabilities and responsibilities under major environmental laws and regulations. This course is ideal for new EHS managers, environmental consultants, and anyone who wants clarity about how complex environmental requirements fit together. 

Or check out these courses on specific EPA programs:
 
Clean Air Act Regulations Online
TSCA Regulations Online
Clean Water Act & SDWA Regulations Online
Superfund and Right-to-Know Act Regulations Online 
 

Tags: CERCLA, Clean Water Act, PFAS, Safe Drinking Water Act

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