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PFAS Provisions in the 2020 NDAA

After months of drawn-out debate, negotiators have reached an agreement on the fiscal 2020 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). The final bill will return to both Chambers for votes, likely this week, and will then be sent to the President, who is expected to sign the bill into law before the end of the year. Both of the original House and Senate bills included language to deal with PFAS under the SDWA, CWA, and other environmental laws. The conference report was released this week and though much of the language in the original bills was eliminated during conference negotiations, several important provisions addressing PFAS are included in the final NDAA:

Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)

  • Requires the inclusion of all PFAS for which EPA has validated a method to measure the level in drinking water in the 5th Unregulated Contaminant Monitoring Rule (UCMR). The PFAS included in UCMR 5 will not count towards the limit of 30 contaminants to be monitored by public water systems.
  • Additional funds of $100,000,000 for each of fiscal years 2020 through 2024 have been authorized for the Drinking Water State Revolving Fund to provide grants to water systems for addressing emerging contaminants, with a focus on PFAS. At least 25% of the funds in this section must be provided to disadvantaged Related imagecommunities and water systems serving less than 25,000 persons.
  • Adds a large number of PFAS chemicals to the Toxic Release Inventory with a reporting threshold of 100 pounds.
  • Within one year, EPA must publish interim guidance on the destruction and disposal of PFAS and materials containing PFAS.
  • PFAS manufacturers will be required to submit information under the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) about where PFAS chemicals were previously manufactured and sold.
  • EPA must finalize the 2015 proposed Significant New Use Rule on long-chain PFAS chemicals under TSCA, which will require manufacturers and importers to submit notice to EPA before manufacturing or using PFOA and some related PFAS.
  • Directs EPA to review Federal efforts to identify, monitor, and assist in the development of treatment methods for emerging contaminants and to assist States in responding to the human health risks posed by contaminants of emerging concern; EPA, in collaboration with stakeholders, must then establish a strategic plan for improving such Federal efforts.
  • Directs EPA to develop a National Emerging Contaminant Research Initiative in coordination with other Federal agencies.
  • Directs EPA to conduct a study on actions they can take to increase technical assistance and support for States with respect to emerging contaminants in drinking water. EPA will then implement a program for States to apply for technical assistance on emerging contaminants. Part of this program will include the development of an EPA database of tools and resources to assist states with emerging contaminants.

Department of Defense (DoD) and the United States Geological Survey (USGS)

  • Prohibits DoD from the use of PFAS-containing aqueous film forming foams (AFFF) during training exercises.
  • Requiring DoD to phase out the use of PFAS-containing AFFF by 2024.
  • Requires DoD to submit a remediation plan to Congress that addresses the cleanup of water contaminated with PFOA and PFOS at sites adjacent to a military installation.
  • Phases out the use of PFAS chemicals in meals-ready-to-eat (MRE) packaging.
  • Requires DoD to provide blood testing for military firefighters.
  • Requires USGS to develop methods for detecting PFAS in the environment and directs USGS to carry out a nationwide sampling to determine the concentration of PFAS compounds in estuaries, lakes, streams, springs, wells, wetlands, rivers, aquifers, and soils. Results of the sampling will be made available to State agencies upon request.

Note: Some of these programs and provisions may be contingent on receiving additional appropriations. This is not an exhaustive list of the provisions addressing PFAS in the 2020 NDAA.