As noted in the letter, NGWA applauds the hearing on the impacts of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) on communities and states. Over the last five years, as awareness of nationwide PFAS contamination has grown, the Association has watched states, cities, and small towns across the country attempt to regulate PFAS and mitigate the impact to their citizens.
“For too long, our cities and communities have done so with little guidance, regulations or resources from the federal government. We at NGWA are thankful and excited to see that course reversing,” the letter states.
As Congress continues to discuss PFAS legislation and national infrastructure legislation, NGWA strongly urges its leaders to create policies to better assist private water well owners — especially in rural and underserved communities. By including water well support in future legislation, water quality will increase for millions of Americans while at the same time saving federal dollars by forgoing costly and unnecessary connections to public water systems.
NGWA offered the following recommendations and observations to the subcommittee.
- To most effectively manage PFAS contamination, regulations that are enforceable must be established at the federal level, as soon as possible. Absent of this certainty, states and communities are enacting their own limits, creating additional challenges and confusion for the detection and remediation of contamination across the country.
- Increase federal funding for PFAS testing and PFAS remediation of private water and irrigation wells in rural and underserved areas.
- Create tax incentive programs for the purchase of PFAS remediation technology for private well owners.
- Private wells pose unique challenges in detecting contamination because there are no requirements for well owners to routinely test their water. Increased funding for technical assistance programs to conduct well owner outreach and financial support for water testing must be prioritized, particularly in rural and disadvantaged areas.
- Resources must be provided to increase the number of labs capable of testing for PFAS via the EPA’s method 537. Many states have no labs that use method 537, and the limited number of labs make testing for PFAS cost-prohibitive, particularly for private well owners.
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.