EPA Announces Plans for New Wastewater Regulations, Including First Limits for PFAS

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency released Preliminary Effluent Guidelines Program Plan 15 (Preliminary Plan 15), which identifies opportunities to better protect public health and the environment through regulation of wastewater pollution.

Preliminary Plan 15 announces the EPA would undertake three new rulemakings to reduce contaminants, including per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) and nutrients from key industries.

The EPA would initiate the new rulemakings after concluding several studies that were discussed in Effluent Guidelines Program Plan 14. The agency has determined that revised effluent limitations guidelines (ELGs) and pretreatment standards are warranted for the:

  • Organic Chemicals, Plastics and Synthetic Fibers category to address PFAS discharges from facilities manufacturing PFAS
  • Metal Finishing category to address PFAS discharges from chromium electroplating facilities
  • Meat and Poultry Products category to address nutrient discharges.

Preliminary Plan 15 also discusses the Steam Electric Power Generating category rulemaking that the agency announced on July 26. The EPA has initiated that rulemaking process to consider strengthening the effluent limits applicable to certain ELG waste streams from coal power plants that use steam to generate electricity.

Click here to view Preliminary Plan 15 and learn how to submit comments.

NGWA has long been an industry leader in providing PFAS research, education, and resources to the public and scientific communities. In 2017, NGWA published Groundwater and PFAS: State of Knowledge and Practice, which was one of the first PFAS guidance documents to be released. It can be found at NGWA.org/PFAS, which is a complete resource center about the groundwater contaminants featuring a FAQs document, a top-10 facts sheet, a homeowner checklist, and more.