Need to get up to speed quickly? Our technical and regulatory briefings will provide your team with updates on the latest EPA and state-specific regulations pertaining to your organization. These private sessions will also give you an opportunity to ask our PFAS and other emerging contaminants experts any questions you have on the science or the regulations.
The U.S. EPA included PFAS as a class of compounds in the fifth revision of its Chemical Contaminant List (CCL 5). To be clear, this group does not include all 5000+ PFAS compounds, but the agency recently expanded the list to include all PFAS with specific chemical structures. The CCL prioritizes compounds for investigation and regulatory action under the SDWA (Safe Drinking Water Act).
The CAA authorizes the EPA to regulate hazardous air pollutants. PFAS are not yet identified as a pollutant under the CAA. However, airborne PFAS as a source of overall contamination is of increasing interest, and the EPA is currently studying sources of PFAS air emissions and their impact on communities. The results of this research will be used to inform future rulemaking.
The CWA gives the U.S. EPA the authority to regulate non-potable water. Currently, the EPA is working with the Department of Defense to develop a new method (Draft Method 1633) for analyzing up to 40 specific compounds in non-potable waters, such as wastewater, groundwater, and surface waters. Once validated, the CWA grants the EPA the authority to promulgate this method and paves the way for more stringent sampling and testing requirements in other EPA programs.
CERCLA, also known as Superfund, gives the U.S. EPA broad authority to respond directly to actual or threatened releases of hazardous substances. The EPA has announced its intention to classify PFOA and PFOS as hazardous substances under CERCLA. Once this happens, the EPA will have the authority to respond directly, e.g., issue cleanup orders, in the event of a release. CERCLA also grants the EPA the power to address existing contamination.
Effluent Limitation Guidelines (ELGs) establish national technology-based regulatory limits for specified pollutants in wastewater discharge. The U.S. EPA updates its Effluent Guidelines Program Plan every two years, and Plan 15 was just released in January of 2023. It’s important to note that the Effluent Guidelines Program Plan does not set ELGs. It identifies the industries for which ELGs will be set. Plan 15 calls for ELGs to be set for discharge from landfills. Once defined, these ELGs will be the first PFAS-related ELGs for wastewater discharge. Plan 15 also calls for more research on PFAS in wastewater discharge from textile mills as well as wastewater discharge from industry sent to publicly owned treatment works (POTW).
UCMR 5 is designed to collect data on contaminants suspected to be present in the nation’s public water systems but that do not yet have health-based standards set under the Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA). The EPA is authorized to issue a new list of 30 contaminants every five years. Of the 30 contaminants in UCMR 5, PFAS account for 29. (The 30th is the metal lithium) Under UCMR 5, all public water systems (PWS) serving more than 3300 people plus a randomly selected set of 800 smaller systems will be required to test for these compounds at entry points to their drinking water distribution systems in 2023.
Pace® is an approved UCMR 5 lab and offers all three methods required to test for the 29 PFAS plus lithium. Reach out to us for project planning assistance or to request a quote.
The Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA) authorizes the U.S. EPA to issue health advisories for contaminants not yet regulated by the National Primary Drinking Water Regulation (NPDWR). While health advisories are not enforceable limits, they can inform rulemaking at both the state and federal level.
In 2022, the EPA issued revised interim health advisories of 0.004 ppt for PFOA and 0.02 ppt for PFOS. These health advisories are considered interim because the agency intends to propose enforceable limits for PFOA and PFOS in drinking water later this year. The EPA also released final health advisories for GenX at 10 ppt and PFBS at 2000 ppt. The agency plans to complete additional toxicity assessments, which may lead to future health advisories for more PFAS compounds.
Created in 1972 by the Clean Water Act (CWA), NPDES is a permitting program designed to regulate the discharge of pollutants into the waters of the U.S. (WOTUS). States can petition the U.S. EPA to administer their own NPDES program, and the majority of states have received partial or full approval. Tribal Lands are authorized separately. Four states, NH, NM, MD, and MA, as well as the majority of U.S. territories continue to rely on the EPA for NPDES permitting. In December of 2022, the EPA released a memo detailing guidance to states for NPDES permitting. This memo references utilizing Draft Method 1633 for monitoring programs with a caveat that the draft method for Adsorbable Organic Fluorine can be used in conjunction with 1633. PACE has the capability of running both of these methods.
Enacted in 1976, RCRA governs the disposal of solid and hazardous waste. While designating PFAS a hazardous substance under CERCLA gives the U.S. EPA the authority to mandate cleanup, designating PFAS a hazardous substance under RCRA allows the EPA much greater control over the entire lifecycle of PFAS: manufacturing, transportation, treatment, storage, and disposal.
The Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA) establishes a data-driven, risk-based process to assess drinking water contaminants of emerging concern. The SDWA grants EPA the authority to set National Primary Drinking Water Regulations (NPDWR). Proposed Maximum Contaminant Levels (MCLs) have been proposed for six PFAS: PFOA, PFOS, PFBS, PFNA, PFHxS, and GenX (HFPO-DA).
Established under the auspices of the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA), the U.S. EPA’s Significant New Use Rule grants the agency the authority to approve or reject new uses for potentially hazardous chemicals, including PFAS. The EPA also announced its intention to remove the Low-Volume Exemptions (LVEs) that have been issued for PFAS that are imported or manufactured in small quantities.
Not much is known about the toxicity of the vast majority of PFAS compounds, but the U.S. EPA is seeking to fill in some of the gaps with toxicity assessments focused on PFAS of particular concern as well as those that represent specific categories of PFAS compounds. These assessments inform rulemaking, such as health advisories and limit-setting at both the state and federal level. Toxicity assessments have been completed for five PFAS compounds: PFOA, PFOS, GenX (HFPO-DA), PFBS, and PFBA. Assessments are underway for PFHxA, PFHxS, PFNA, and PFDA. Available assessments can be found on the EPA’s Integrated Risk Information System (IRIS) database
TRI tracks toxic chemical releases from industrial facilities into the environment. For reporting year 2023, covered entities will need to report on 180 PFAS. In January of 2023, the U.S. EPA announced an additional 9 PFAS would be added for reporting year 2024, bringing the total number of PFAS to 189. In addition, at the end of 2022, the EPA announced its intention to classify PFAS as “Chemicals of Concern,” which would automatically remove any exemptions for releases involving minimal quantities.
The TSCA grants the U.S. EPA the authority to establish reporting, record-keeping, and testing requirements for chemical compounds. Since little is known about the toxicity of most of the PFAS in use commercially, the EPA’s 2021-2024 Strategic Roadmap calls for additional studies to be conducted. Under the authority granted to the agency by the TSCA, the EPA has already begun issuing orders to industry to provide either existing data or data from new research.
Pace® works with clients across the country, and our PFAS experts would be happy to walk through regulatory compliance requirements in your state.
We’re certified/accredited by NELAC, ISO, DOD, DOE, and in every state with a PFAS lab certification program.
For emergencies, our Rapid Response Team can provide defensible results in as little as 24 hours.
We are committed to helping our customers advance their important work through building strong relationships, delivering upon expectations, and providing exceptional customer service.
We can test for PFAS in both solid and aqueous matrices, including potable and non-potable waters, soils, and biota.
We’re on the leading edge of science, working with EPA, DOD, ASTM, and others to develop new methods for analyzing PFAS.