EPA Takes Steps to Address PFAS in Drinking Water

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced February 22 two action steps to address per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) in drinking water.

The EPA is reproposing the Fifth Unregulated Contaminant Monitoring Rule (UCMR 5) to collect new data on PFAS in drinking water and the agency is reissuing final regulatory determinations for perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) and perfluorooctanesulfonic acid (PFOS) under the Safe Drinking Water Act.

“Federal regulations are crucial in creating uniformity of how industries and communities tackle PFAS and PFOA,” says NGWA CEO Terry S. Morse, CAE, CIC. “It’s our hope that these new proposals are based on the best science and research available and we look forward to participating in their review.”

With the final regulatory determinations for PFOA and PFOS, the EPA will move forward to implement the national primary drinking water regulation development process for these two PFAS. The regulatory determinations also outline avenues the agency is considering to further evaluate additional PFAS and provide flexibility for the agency to consider groups of PFAS.

Additionally, the proposed UCMR 5 would provide new data critically needed to improve the EPA’s understanding of the frequency that 29 PFAS are found in the nation’s drinking water systems and at what levels.

The EPA will accept public comment on the proposed UCMR 5 for 60 days, following publication in the Federal Register. The EPA will also hold two virtual stakeholder meetings during the public comment period.

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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 2018, 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.