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Impact of EPA’s PFAS Action Plan

On February 14, EPA released its first-ever comprehensive nationwide Per- and Polyfluoralkyl Substances (PFAS) Action Plan. The plan is the result of a cross-agency effort and is focused predominantly on protecting the nation’s drinking water. The PFAS Action Plan includes numerous aspects that may have both immediate and long-term effects on regulated parties:

  • EPA will work toward establishment of Maximum Contaminant Levels (MCLs) under the Safe Drinking Water Act, potentially complicating the regulatory landscape with additional standards.
  • EPA could list two of the most studied PFAS (PFOA and PFOS) as hazardous substances under CERCLA, giving the Agency the ability to impose remediation requirements.
  • Additional substances will need to be monitored and controlled through new Effluent Limitation Guidelines (ELGs) under the Clean Water Act.
  • EPA plans to develop new analytical methods to detect additional PFAS among the thousands of possible compounds. New toxicity factors and analytical requirements may lead to regulation of PFAS by groups or using toxicity equivalency factors.
  • Public awareness of the global presence of PFAS in the environment, people, and animals will require creative approaches to risk communication and could invite public action and litigation.

Priority implications of the Action Plan are discussed in greater detail here. Our scientists and engineers stand ready to help clients as the PFAS regulatory landscape unfolds.