| U.S. EPA unveils national strategy to confront PFAS contamination
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U.S. EPA unveils national strategy to confront PFAS contamination

Diagram of PFOA and PFOSThe U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) this week unveiled a national plan to “confront PFAS (per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances) contamination nationwide.” The plan includes tougher Safe Drinking Water Act rules and additional reporting for PFAS manufacturers.

In an Oct. 18 press conference at North Carolina State University in Raleigh, N.C., EPA Administrator Michael Regan said the agency’s strategic roadmap to protect communities from PFAS contamination is focused on three approaches:

  • Research: invest in research, development and innovation to increase understanding of PFAS exposures and toxicities, human health and ecological effects, and effective interventions that incorporate the best available science.
  • Restrict: proactively prevent PFAS from entering air, land and water at levels that adversely impact human health and the environment.
  • Remediate: broaden and accelerate the cleanup of PFAS contamination to protect human health and ecological systems. Tracy Mehan

“AWWA supports regulating PFOA and PFOS in drinking water based on the best available science,” said Tracy Mehan (pictured right), AWWA’s executive director of government affairs. “We have repeatedly called on EPA to better utilize the Toxic Substances Control Act and other statutes to gather data and take appropriate actions to prevent problematic PFAS compounds from entering the nation’s water supply.”

EPA’s strategic roadmap was developed through analysis conducted by the EPA Council on PFAS, which Regan established earlier this year to develop an agency-wide strategy to address PFAS. The roadmap will replace EPA's earlier PFAS Action Plan. EPA will be holding free webinars on Oct. 26 and Nov. 2 to include local, state, tribal and national stakeholders in solution discussions.
Michael Regan
“This comprehensive, national PFAS strategy will deliver protections to people who are hurting, by advancing bold and concrete actions that address the full lifecycle of these chemicals,” stated Regan (pictured left) in a press release

The roadmap includes the following EPA actions and timelines:

In the past two years, AWWA has provided comments to EPA and testified before U.S. Congress regarding the importance of four principles to guide PFAS regulation: commitment to public health protection, fidelity to scientific process, protection of source water and investment in research.

“Importantly, EPA identifies pollution prevention as an element of the strategic roadmap,” Mehan said. “The roadmap includes data collection through the Toxic Release Inventory, TSCA data-gathering authority, and CWA Effluent Guidelines Program. It also describes identifying PFAS categories to guide TSCA test orders this fall.”

AWWA’s resources on PFAS are available on its website.