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EPA Releases PFAS Action Plan

This morning (2/14), EPA released its PFAS Action Plan. The Plan has 64 pages of text, so it takes some time to read through the Plan completely, but below are some highlights from the Executive Summary:

  • EPA intends to propose a regulatory determination for PFOA and PFOS in 2019;
  • EPA will include a larger group of PFAS in the Fifth Unregulated Contaminant Monitoring Rule (UCMR5);
  • EPA will continue to work through its regulatory development process for listing PFOA and PFOS as CERCLA hazardous substances;
  • EPA will finalize the toxicity assessments for PFBS and GenX in 2019 and will develop draft toxicity assessments for PFBA, PFHxA, PFHxS, PFNA, and PFDA in 2020; and
  • EPA will continue to use its authority under TSCA to review new PFAS and issue supplemental proposed Significant New Use Rules (SNUR) on PFAS.

The Plan lists several other actions by EPA, and it’s worth the time for a careful read. During the questions and answers at this morning’s press conference, EPA Acting Administrator Wheeler stated his intent to set drinking water standards for PFOA and PFOS. Assuming a positive Regulatory Determination in December 2019, the regulatory development process under the Safe Drinking Water Act will take some time:

  • Final regulatory determination in December 2019;
  • Proposed drinking water standards in December 2021 (2 years after final regulatory determination per the SDWA regulatory development process); and
  • Final drinking water standards in June 2023 (18 months after proposal).

It should be noted that EPA could possibly somewhat speed up its regulatory development process if the Agency’s leadership makes that decision. However, there are still many reviews and procedures that have to be followed for the development of any national drinking water standard.