The Latest on the PFAS Front


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The Latest on the PFAS Front

By: George Colvin, CPG, CHMM

The past few months have resulted in a slew of federal and state actions associated with per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS).  Below is a summary of some of them.

  • On March 11, 2021, the proposed fifth Unregulated Contaminant Monitoring Rule (UCMR 5) was published. The proposed UCMR 5 would provide new data that is designed to improve EPA’s understanding of the frequency of which 29 PFAS are found in the nation’s drinking water systems and at what levels. If approved, UCMR 5 sample collection would occur between 2023 and 2025.
  • On April 27, 2021, EPA Administrator Michael S. Regan issued a memorandum to EPA’s senior leadership 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 these chemicals. Radhika Fox, Principal Deputy Assistant Administrator in the Office of Water, and Deb Szaro, Acting Regional Administrator in Region 1, will convene and lead the EPA Council on PFAS, which will be comprised of senior EPA career officials from across the agency.
  • On May 19, 2021 EPA updated its Drinking Water Treatability Database with new references and treatment options for PFAS.  With this update, EPA added treatment information for eleven PFAS compounds. This update brings the total number of PFAS with treatment information in the database to 37, including PFOA and PFOS. Researchers have also added 38 new scientific references to the existing PFAS entries, which increases the depth of scientific knowledge available in the database. For more information on  EPA’s Drinking Water Treatability Database and to access it, visit: https://www.epa.gov/water-research/drinking-water-treatability-database-tdb
  • On June 3, 2021, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania released final results of Statewide PFAS sampling of public water systems.  Full results and additional information can be found at www.dep.pa.gov/pfas.
  • On June 10, 2021, EPA proposed a new Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) rule that will require facilities that manufacture (including import) or have manufactured PFAS substances in any year since January 1, 2011, to electronically report information regarding PFAS uses, production volumes, disposal, exposures, and hazards.  The proposed rule was published in the Federal Register on June 28, 2021
  • On June 23, 2021, New Mexico’s Governor Michell Lujan Grisham petitioned EPA to designate PFAS as hazardous waste under RCRA. Through the petition, the Governor cites imminent and substantial endangerment, triggering a 90-day deadline by which EPA must respond.

George H. Colvin is a hydrogeologist with over 30 years of consulting experience. Much of his experience has focused on RCRA Corrective Action, RCRA closure, and groundwater investigation, monitoring, and cleanup. He holds a BS in Geology from Ohio University and MS in geology and hydrology from Vanderbilt University. He is a Certified Professional Geologist with the American Institute of Professional Geologists, a registered geologist in Kentucky, Pennsylvania, and Tennessee, and a Certified Hazardous Materials Manager.