EPA Issues First-Ever Limits on PFAS

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recently issued the first-ever national, legally enforceable drinking water standard against per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), sometimes referred to as “forever chemicals.” Prolonged exposure to PFAS has been linked to some serious safety and health issues, including cancers and impact to critical organs.

MCAA members have paid close attention to this issue since these harmful chemicals never fully degrade. PFAS are so prevalent that they can be found in the blood of almost every person in the U.S.

The EPA’s general summary of the final rule highlights fact sheets, presentations, frequently asked questions (FAQs), and regulatory information.

The final rule requires that:

  • Public water systems must monitor for these PFAS and have three years to complete initial monitoring (by 2027), followed by ongoing compliance monitoring. Water systems must also provide the public with information on the levels of these PFAS in their drinking water beginning in 2027.
  • Public water systems have five years (by 2029) to implement solutions that reduce these PFAS if monitoring shows that drinking water levels exceed these maximum contaminant level (MCLs).
  • Beginning in five years (2029), public water systems that have PFAS in drinking water which violates one or more of these MCLs must take action to reduce levels of these PFAS in their drinking water and must provide notification to the public of the violation. 

The final rule establishes MCLs for six PFAS in drinking water, “PFOA, PFOS, PFHxS, PFNA, and HFPO-DA as contaminants with individual MCLs, and PFAS mixtures containing at least two or more of PFHxS, PFNA, HFPO-DA, and PFBS using a Hazard Index MCL to account for the combined and co-occurring levels of these PFAS in drinking water. EPA also finalized health-based, non-enforceable Maximum Contaminant Level Goals (MCLGs) for these PFAS.” 

More information can be found here. The EPA is also holding three informational webinars:

  • April 16, 2024 (2:00-3:00 pm EDT) General Overview of PFAS NDPWR for Communities Registration
  • April 23, 2024 (2:00 – 3:00 pm EDT) Drinking Water Utilities and Professionals Technical Overview of PFAS NPDWR Registration
  • April 30, 2024 (2:00 – 3:30 pm EDT) Small Drinking Water Systems Webinar Series on Final PFAS NPDWR and PFAS Drinking Water Treatment Registration

If you have questions, please contact Raffi Elchemmas, MCAA’s Executive Director of Safety, Health, and Risk Management.

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