EPA’s PFAS Leadership Summit Provided a Forum for a Wide Range of Perspectives

On May 22-23, EPA held a PFAS Leadership Summit in Washington, D.C. that was attended by over 200 people from various organizations on Day 1 that provided a wide range of perspectives during the discussion periods. Considering the number of people in attendance and the diverse perspectives, some good discussions percolated through the Summit. EPA’s facilitators used PollEverywhere on Day 1 to solicit input and then developed word maps to show commonalities of the responses. On Day 2, small groups of state and federal staff conducted their own lively discussions, and then, small groups reported out on each of the three topics, and again, there were lots of commonalities.

At the start of the summit, EPA Administrator Pruitt announced EPA’s Four-Step Action Plan:
  1. EPA is starting the process to evaluate the need for an MCL for PFOA and PFOS, i.e., whether a regulatory determination is needed.
  2. EPA is starting the process to propose designating PFOA and PFOS as “hazardous substances” under its existing statutory authority such as CERCLA Section 102.
  3. EPA is currently developing groundwater cleanup recommendations for PFOA and PFOS at contaminated sites that should be released this fall.
  4. EPA is developing toxicity values for GenX and PFBS.
At the start of Day 2, Peter Grevatt from OGWDW provided his summary seven points from Day 1:
  1. We need to focus on risk communication and community involvement;
  2. We need to prioritize our efforts;
  3. There is a big universe of PFAS – should we focus on individual PFAS versus a group?
  4. There are cross-media, cross-program sources, so we need to think about source control;
  5. What does transparency mean for PFAS (in the context of PFAS complexity & uncertainty)?
  6. There is a tremendous wealth of experience at the state and local levels; and
  7. How do we get monitoring data (outside of UCMR3) without regulations that require monitoring?
EPA has posted the presentations from the Summit on its website. I would recommend taking a look at Brandon Kernen’s presentation as he makes 11 excellent recommendations that warrant further thought.