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EPA Takes New Steps to Regulate PFAS in Drinking Water

On February 22, 2021, the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued two actions to protect public health by addressing per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) in drinking water. The new actions include:

  1. A re-proposal of the Fifth Unregulated Contaminant Monitoring Rule (UCMR 5) to collect new data on PFAS in drinking water: Under the new Administration, EPA is re-proposing UCMR 5 to collect new data on PFAS in drinking water. The agency is reissuing these actions after a thorough review of the previous administration’s executive orders and other directives. The proposed UCMR 5 would provide new data to improve EPA’s understanding of the frequency with which 29 PFAS are found in the nation’s drinking water systems and at what levels.

  2. A reissuing of the final regulatory determinations for perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) and perfluorooctanesulfonic acid (PFOS) under the Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA): This announcement initially affects many municipal drinking water systems, and may have future impacts on manufacturers and remediation sites where PFAS have been used or detected. With the final regulatory determinations for PFOA and PFOS, EPA will move to implement the national primary drinking water regulation development process for these two PFAS.

Who is affected by EPA’s new PFAS actions?

These developments will initially affect municipalities and drinking water systems. EPA proposes all Public Water Supply systems serving 3,300 or more people would need to collect samples for 30 chemicals (29 PFAS and lithium) between January 2023 and December 2025.

In time, these developments may affect manufacturers who use PFAS and similar chemicals in their processes and products. Similarly, it may also affect assessment and remediation at sites where PFAS is detected if any new PFAS drinking water standards are used for cleanup requirements.

Impacted groups and stakeholders are advised to follow these regulatory actions closely as EPA and states move forward. EPA will accept public comment on the proposed UCMR 5 for 60 days, following publication in the Federal Register. EPA will also hold two virtual stakeholder meetings during the public comment period.

Interested in more information?

Trihydro continues to follow new EPA and state requirements as they arise. Trihydro has experience sampling for PFAS and similar chemicals and assists clients in assessing impacts, determining environmental and health concerns, and coming up with treatment options for remediation sites where PFAS have been detected and cleanup will be required.

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