| AWWA, AMWA file petition for review of U.S. EPA’s new PFAS rule
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AWWA, AMWA file petition for review of U.S. EPA’s new PFAS rule

The American Water Works Association (AWWA) and the Association of Metropolitan Water Agencies (AMWA) on June 7 filed a petition for a judicial review of the recently finalized PFAS Drinking Water Rule.

The petition and related materials are available on AWWA’s PFAS resource page.

Lab professional looking through microscopeAWWA CEO David LaFrance and AMWA CEO Tom Dobbins released a statement following the filing, noting the associations shared the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) goal of protecting people from potentially harmful levels of PFAS (per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances) in drinking water.

“Both AMWA and AWWA supported EPA’s decision to swiftly pursue development of a national PFAS regulation, and we provided the agency with robust, constructive comments to maximize public health benefits in a cost-effective manner,” the statement noted. “We are concerned, however, that EPA did not use the best available data and appropriate processes in developing the PFAS regulation. For example, we question the use of a novel ‘Hazard Index’ in place of a Maximum Contaminant Level for mixtures of certain PFAS, and the issuing of a preliminary determination to regulate certain PFAS simultaneously with the proposed rule.”

The petition was filed in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. 

“The rule significantly underestimates nationwide costs, does not take into account the latest PFAS data, and will add to affordability challenges for many households without achieving the public health outcomes we all seek,” the associations’ statement said. “Scientific process matters, especially when it will set precedent for how EPA develops future drinking water regulations. AMWA and AWWA therefore believe it is prudent to ask a court to verify that EPA constructed the PFAS regulation according to the letter and spirit of the Safe Drinking Water Act, and to give EPA an opportunity to revisit any components of the rule that fell short.”

AWWA submitted more than 180 pages of comments after the proposed rule was published in March 2023, and the Association’s estimates for the costs of the rule are significantly higher than EPA’s. In an FAQ published on AWWA’s site, the Association wrote that “We want every available dollar to be directed toward the most pressing public health risks. The cost of this regulation is important because the dollars each community spends on addressing PFAS are not available to address other issues, e.g., replacing lead service lines, investing in cybersecurity, ongoing infrastructure replacement, and routine maintenance. … We owe it to our communities – and to those households that struggle to pay for essential needs – to get it right.”

AWWA supports the removal of PFAS and encourages utilities to continue their local efforts.