EPA’s Science Advisory Board Releases Two Drinking Water Reports

Earlier in August, EPA’s Science Advisory Board (SAB) released two advisory reports on signficant drinking water topics. The first report was released on August 19th – “Review of the EPA’s Draft Fifth Contaminant Candidate List (CCL5)” – and listed 10 key findings and recommendations for CCL5. The SAB provided specific recommendations on some contaminants to remove, as well as other contaminants to add. The SAB generally found that the CCL5 development process was clear and transparent. The SAB provided specific recommendations to strengthen the process for future CCLs by employing machine learning, including European data to identify contaminants of concern, and provided several other specific recommendations. As part of the mandated deadlines under the Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA), EPA’s deadline to finalize CCL5 was November 17, 2021, five years after the final CCL4. It should be noted that EPA published the Draft CCL5 in July 2021.

The second report was released on August 22nd – “Review of EPA’s Analyses to Support EPA’s National Primary Drinking Water Rulemaking for PFAS” – and listed three pages of specific recommendations to improve the analyses as part of the Agency’s regulatory development process. The SAB generally agreed with many of the conclusions presented in the assessments, framework and analyses. The SAB also identified many areas that would benefit from further clarification to enhance transparency and utility as EPA continues its work to develop a proposed regulation for perfluorooctaoic acid (PFOA) and perfluorooctanesulfonic acid (PFOS). EPA is scheduled to propose this regulation by the end of 2022, and finalize this regulation by end of 2023. On June 15, 2022, EPA released interim updated health advisories for PFOA and PFOS.