A lawmaker in Michigan reintroduced a bill in mid-January that would give the state the nation’s strictest limit on per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS).
Senator Winnie Brinks (D-Grand Rapids) introduced a new version of her legislation that would set a legally-enforceable limit of 5 parts-per-trillion (ppt) for two individual PFAS chemicals, PFOA and PFOS, in public drinking water distributed by utilities, according to MLive Media Group.
The article states the new PFAS bill reflects the previous version, which seeks to amend the state’s Safe Drinking Water Act and set a maximum contaminant level (MCL) about 14 times lower than the existing federal health advisory level for PFOA and PFOS.
Brinks’ previous bill died without a markup in the House Natural Resources Committee even after she held a one-hour “PFAS 101” information session in December 2018.
To date, PFAS substances have been found at some level in the municipal drinking water serving more than 2 million people (about 20% of the state population).
Currently, the nation’s strictest MCL for PFAS substances in public drinking water is the 13 ppt limit on PFNA, a lesser-known PFAS substance, set in 2018 by New Jersey. That state is looking to set low standards as well for PFOA and PFOS.
New York’s state Drinking Water Quality Council recently recommended setting state drinking water standards for PFOA and PFOS at 10-ppt.
Other states, according to MLive Media Group, are proposing standards that fall more in line with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency advisory level. In January, New Hampshire proposed drinking water standards of 70 ppt for PFOA, 38 ppt for PFOS, 23 ppt for PFNA, and 85 ppt for another lesser-known substance called PFHxS.
The EPA has yet to set enforceable drinking water standards for PFAS amid calls by states and nonprofit groups to do so.
PFAS has been on NGWA’s radar for several years and will remain a priority issue for the foreseeable future. The Association has created a “Groundwater and PFAS” resource center for NGWA members. The center includes a PFAS FAQ, top 10 facts about PFAS, and a homeowner checklist, among other items. NGWA is also the publisher of the guidance document, Groundwater and PFAS: State of Knowledge and Practice.
Like in 2018, NGWA is hosting educational events on PFAS once again this year:
- PFAS in Groundwater Workshop: The Professional’s Challenge, June 18 in Westerville, Ohio
- The PFAS Management, Mitigation, and Remediation Conference, June 19-20 in Westerville, Ohio
- PFAS in Groundwater Workshop: The Professional’s Challenge, December 5 in Las Vegas, Nevada.