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EPA Holds Firm on Trump-Era Decision not to Regulate Perchlorate

On March 31, EPA announced its decision to uphold a Trump-era decision not to regulate perchlorate in drinking water. The Agency had reversed course on its initial 2011 determination to regulate the chemical in June of 2020 after reviewing the best available science and the steps that EPA, states, and public water systems had taken to reduce perchlorate levels since the determination was made. This latest review reaffirmed the Agency’s findings that perchlorate does not meet the criteria for regulation as a drinking water contaminant under the Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA). This decision does not preclude EPA from considering new information on the health effects and occurrence of perchlorate as it arises, and the Agency can still add perchlorate to future Contaminant Candidate Lists to be considered for possible regulation under SDWA at a later time.

Alongside this announcement, EPA released a fact sheet outlining the Agency’s plans to address perchlorate contamination. EPA’s ongoing and planned activities include:

  • Continuing ongoing cleanup activities at perchlorate contaminated sites;
  • Providing resources and recommendations for water systems to address perchlorate contamination;
  • Conducting studies to characterize perchlorate occurrence in ambient waters; and
  • Developing a web-based toolkit to provide relevant information and tools to assist drinking water systems and communities who may have concerns regarding perchlorate contamination in source waters.