EPA Announces New PFAS Wastewater Actions for Federal Permits and Analytical Methods

On November 30, EPA announced two new steps to address PFAS in wastewater. The first is a memorandum on a new EPA Interim Strategy for addressing PFAS in federally issued National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permits. The second is new information on progress for developing analytical methods to test for PFAS in wastewater and other environmental media. EPA is working with the Department of Defense to develop the analytical methods to test for 40 PFAS that are expected to be finalized in 2021. These two steps will help ensure that federally enforceable wastewater monitoring for PFAS can begin as soon as the validated analytical methods are finalized.

The interim NPDES permitting strategy was developed by a cross-agency workgroup to address PFAS in EPA-issued Clean Water Act (CWA) Section 402 permits while the CWA framework for potentially regulating PFAS NPDES discharges is under development. The workgroup recommendations for the interim strategy are to: include permit requirements for phased-in monitoring and best management practices for wastewater discharges; include permit requirements for phased-in monitoring and stormwater pollutant control; and develop a platform for sharing a compendium of permitting practices.

For more information, read the memo on the interim NPDES strategy and see EPA’s web page on CWA Analytical Methods for PFAS.