drinking water standards

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On May 1, 2024, Colorado became the thirteenth state to pass legislation banning per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, commonly referred to as PFAS. The move comes shortly after PFAS received exceptional public attention when EPA finalized its first-ever national drinking water standards for six PFAS this past April. The release of these new standards now requires states and industry to act quickly and strategically on plans to restrict PFAS from water systems. For Colorado, multiple areas across the state detected PFAS in the water beyond EPA limits when EPA required water systems across the nation to test for dozens of PFAS last year.Continue Reading Colorado Bans Forever Chemicals After EPA Sets New PFAS Water Standards

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On April 10, 2024, U.S. EPA announced a National Primary Drinking Water Regulation (NPDWR) establishing legally enforceable Maximum Contaminant Levels (MCLs) and non-enforceable Maximum Contaminant Level Goals (MCLGs) for six per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) in drinking water under the Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA).

The final rule requires public water systems to: (1) complete initial monitoring for these PFAS by 2027 and provide public notice of initial monitoring results beginning in 2027; (2) implement solutions by 2029 to reduce these PFAS if drinking water levels exceed the MCLs; and (3) starting in 2029, take action to reduce PFAS in response to violations of the MCLs and to provide public notice of any such violations. EPA PFAS NPDWR Summary.

A pre-publication version of EPA’s final rule is available here.Continue Reading US EPA Finalizes New National Drinking Water Standards for Six PFAS

On April 10, 2024, the U.S. EPA released its federally enforceable drinking water limits for certain toxic PFAS “forever chemicals” under the federal Safe Drinking Water Act. The final rule will “reduce PFAS exposure for approximately 100 million people, prevent thousands of deaths, and reduce tens of thousands of serious illnesses.”

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Over the last several weeks, appellate courts in two states have issued decisions with varying impacts on per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) regulations at the state level. In New Jersey, the New Jersey Appeals Court has upheld the strict PFAS drinking water standards promulgated by the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection in an opinion issued Aug. 3, 2023. In contrast, just yesterday, a Michigan appeals court invalidated the PFAS drinking water standards issued by the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (EGLE).Continue Reading Michigan Court of Appeals Decision Upends State’s Regulation of PFAS in Drinking Water

After much anticipation in the environmental community, EPA has announced proposed enforceable drinking water standards for six PFAS compounds, including PFOA and PFOS.

Unlike the agency’s two prior health advisories, these maximum contaminant levels (MCLs), if finalized, will set legally enforceable compliance standards for drinking water. Of interest is that EPA set the new proposed MCLs for PFOA and PFOS at the practical quantitation level (PQL), defined as the “lowest concentration of a contaminant that can be reliably achieved within specified limits of precision and accuracy during routine laboratory operating conditions.” According to EPA, “EPA has determined that PFOA and PFOS are likely carcinogens (i.e., cancer causing) and that there is no level of these contaminants that is without a risk of adverse health effects. Therefore, EPA is proposing the set the MCL for these two contaminants at four parts per trillion, the lowest feasible level based on the ability to reliably measure and remove these contaminants from drinking water.” Thus, although the proposed enforceable MCLs are higher than EPA’s 2022 Health Advisory for PFOA and PFOS, which were set based on health risks, the proposed new MCLs are still set at essentially the instrument detection levels.Continue Reading EPA Proposes New Strategy for Regulating PFAS in Drinking Water