EPA Establishes New Council on PFAS

U.S. Environmental Protection Administrator Michael S. Regan issued a memorandum to EPA’s senior leadership on April 27 calling for the creation of a new EPA Council on PFAS that is charged with building on the agency’s ongoing work to better understand and ultimately reduce the potential risks caused by per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS).

Regan has asked Radhika Fox, principal deputy assistant administrator in the Office of Water, and Deb Szaro, acting regional administrator in Region 1, to convene and lead the EPA Council on PFAS, which will be comprised of senior EPA career officials from across the agency.

The agency’s ongoing work on PFAS is based on the 2019 EPA PFAS Action Plan. Developed by EPA career staff, the plan identifies an agenda and actions that have yet to be realized. Regan is directing the EPA Council on PFAS (ECP) to:

  • Develop “PFAS 2021-2025—Safeguarding America’s Waters, Air and Land,” a multiyear strategy to deliver critical public health protections to the American public; to develop the strategy, the ECP will review all ongoing actions, propose any necessary modifications, and identify new strategies and priorities, as well as make initial recommendations within 100 days of its establishment
  • Continue close interagency coordination on regional specific and cross-media issues to assist states, tribes, and local communities faced with significant and complex PFAS challenges
  • Work with all national program offices and regions to maximize the impact of the EPA’s funding and financing programs, and leverage federal and state funds to support cleanup of PFAS pollution, particularly in underserved communities
  • Expand engagement opportunities with federal, state, and tribal partners to ensure consistent communications, exchange information, and identify collaborative solutions.

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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.

As in previous years, NGWA is once again hosting an event on the topic—the Fate of PFAS: From Groundwater to Tap Water virtual conference will take place June 22-23.