Last week, Inside EPA (subscription required) reported that EPA will reopen CERCLA cleanups due to the presence of PFAS on a case-by-case basis. The article reported on the gnashing of teeth among the regulated community at the prospect of seeing a significant number of sites reopened. As a card-carrying member of the regulated community, I am prone to teeth-gnashing as well. And I agree with my friend Jeff Porter,… More
Tag Archives: PFAS
EPA Proposes Safe Drinking Water Act Standards for PFAS: Forever Chemicals Will Lead to Forever Superfund Sites
Yesterday, EPA proposed to regulate certain PFAS under the Safe Drinking Water Act. EPA proposed Maximum Contaminant Level Goals for PFOA and PFOS of zero. It proposed Maximum Contaminant Levels for PFOA and PFOS of 4.0 parts per trillion.
EPA also proposed MCLGs and MCLs for PFNA, PFHxS, PFBS, and HFPO-DA (“GenX Chemicals”) based on a novel hazard index approach to these compounds as a group. … More
Environment and Energy Report (subscription required) had a story today about growing opposition to EPA’s proposal to list two PFAS compounds, PFOA and PFOS, as hazardous substances under CERCLA. Here’s what really caught my eye about the opposition. The National Association of Clean Water Agencies opposes the proposal. They think it inconsistent with EPA’s historical implementation of CERCLA:
EPA’s proposed designations,… More
EPA announced today that it is proposing to list PFOA and PFAS as hazardous substances under CERCLA. EPA appears to be sanguine about how the listing will play out in the real world.
EPA is focused on holding responsible those who have manufactured and released significant amounts of PFOA and PFOS into the environment. EPA will use enforcement discretion and other approaches to ensure fairness for minor parties who may have been inadvertently impacted by the contamination.… More
Last month, EPA issued interim health advisories for PFOA and PFOS that took many people’s breath away. It is rather amazing how quickly we’ve moved from parts per billion past parts per trillion to the low parts per quadrillion range.
At the same time, EPA issued a final health advisory for GenX compounds, setting the level at 10 parts per trillion. … More
Just when we environmental old-timers were just getting used to talk about PFAS concentrations in the low parts per trillion range, EPA has moved us squarely into uncharted territory. EPA has released new, interim, lifetime drinking water health advisories of 4 parts per quadrillion for PFOA and 20 parts per quadrillion for PFOS. I’ll just note a couple of points:
- I think it sort of charming that EPA still states the health advisories in the units of parts per trillion (0.004 ppt for PFOA and 0.020 ppt for PFOS,…
On May 25th, Massachusetts filed suit against a number of companies alleged to have manufactured PFAS and/or aqueous film-forming foam. Massachusetts joins a number of other states which have already brought similar claims. Indeed, Massachusetts filed the case in South Carolina, where an existing multi-district litigation concerning PFAS is already in progress.
The complaint asserts a number of different claims, including trespass and nuisance,… More
First, EPA published its human health toxicity assessment for “GenX chemicals,” also known as hexafluoropropylene oxide (“HFPO”) dimer acid (and don’t forget its ammonium salt!). EPA has pegged HFPO’s toxicity at 7-100 times higher than that of other PFAS compounds for which assessments already exist,… More
There has been much angst at the state level that EPA has not moved faster to develop drinking water or cleanup standards for PFAS. One of the states affected by the pace of EPA’s regulatory efforts is New Hampshire. Taking up the mantle, New Hampshire enacted legislation requiring the Department of Environmental Services to take a variety of actions with respect to PFAS. One required action is the development of a plan for the establishment of surface water quality standards for four PFAS compounds.… More
Last week, Judge Richard McNamara ruled that the plaintiffs were likely to succeed in their challenge to the very stringent standards for PFAS in drinking water promulgated by the New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services. However, given the importance of the issues, the Court stayed its injunction until December 31, to give the parties time to appeal to the NH Supreme Court.
The Court ruled against the plaintiffs’ claims that the regulations constituted an unfunded mandate and that DES failed to give fair notice and an opportunity to comment on the regulations (DES’s final regulations were substantially more stringent than its proposed regulations). … More
Late last month, New Hampshire filed two law suits seeking to recover a variety of costs and damages it alleges have resulted from contamination caused by releases of PFAS. It’s a wide ranging suit; New Hampshire asserted claims for negligence, defective design, failure to warn, trespass, and damage to public trust assets, among others.
And what relief does the state seek? Not much. It merely seeks that the court enter a judgment:
Finding Defendants liable,… More
On Friday, MassDEP proposed a number of revisions to the Massachusetts Contingency Plan, including reporting and cleanup standards for PFAS. The proposed GW-1 standard, applicable to current and potential drinking water source areas, would be 20 parts per trillion for the sum of six PFAS compounds (PFDA, PFHpA, PFHxS, PFOA, PFOS, and PFNA) – significantly more stringent than the 70 ppt guideline for the sum of five PFAS compounds currently in effect.… More
If you were thinking that PFAS were important, but you’ve been unsure just how big a deal they are, you need look no further than the Statewide PFAS Directive issued by the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection. Some of my colleagues in New Jersey may correct me, but I think that the Directive may be the most wide-ranging order I’ve ever seen issued by an environmental agency. … More
Concern about the impacts of Poly- and Perflouroalkyl Substances is extensive and growing. Without seeking to downplay the potential risks from PFAS exposure, I do think that the way we are addressing PFAS demonstrates everything that’s wrong about how we talk about, assess, and respond to environmental risk in the United States.
Exhibit 1 for my view is Senator John Barrasso, the Republican chair of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works. … More