Legislation to Fund PFAS Cleanup Introduced in Early March

U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-New Hampshire) introduced legislation with Senators Tom Carper (D-Delaware) and Chuck Schumer (D-New York) on March 12 to help communities combat per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) contamination and exposure in drinking water and groundwater.

The “Providing Financial Assistance to States for Testing and Treatment Act of 2020” or the “PFAS Testing and Treatment Act of 2020” would provide substantial federal funding for PFAS remediation in drinking water and groundwater—including private wells. Federal and state-level testing have revealed the widespread presence of PFAS in drinking water systems and groundwater throughout the United States.

The legislation would provide for the following items.

(1) It would increase funding for a newly created grant program within the Safe Drinking Water Act State Revolving Loan Fund to $1 billion per year over the next 10 years to go toward the cleanup of PFAS and other emerging contaminants in drinking water.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is directed to prioritize this funding to states according to the prevalence and remediation costs associated with PFAS.

The eligible use of funds is also extended to the testing and treatment of private wells, which supply drinking water for more than 43 million Americans.

(2) It would create a new grant program under the Clean Water Act that provides funding to states to help remediate groundwater contamination from perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) and perfluorooctanesulfonic acid (PFOS), two of the most prevalent PFAS.

This section of the bill requires that groundwater contamination be addressed in accordance with interim guidance issued by the EPA in August 2018 or an applicable state, tribal, or other standard, where those exist. These interim requirements will remain in place until the EPA acts to designate these chemicals as “hazardous substances” under the Superfund law.

This program would be authorized at $1 billion per year over the next 10 years. The EPA is directed to prioritize funding to states according to the prevalence and remediation costs associated with PFAS.

Click here to read the bill.