EPA Issues State PFAS Discharge Guidance and Proposed PFAS TRI Data Reporting Rule

This week, EPA issued two press releases announcing a new state guidance memo on PFAS National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permits to restrict PFAS at their source, and a proposed rule to enhance PFAS Toxics Release Inventory (TRI) data reporting.

The PFAS discharge guidance memo for states entitled, “Addressing PFAS Discharges in NPDES Permits and Through the Pretreatment Program and Monitoring Programs,” is aimed at establishing PFAS monitoring and pollution reduction requirements for Publicly Owned Treatment Works (POTWs), industrial facilities, and stormwater discharges. The memo recommends that states use the most current sampling and analysis methods to identify known or suspected sources of PFAS and use pretreatment and NPDES permitting authorities to help reduce PFAS pollution when issuing new permits or modifying existing permits, including those that have the potential to impact drinking water sources and public health. The recommendations in the memo include:

  • Developing facility-specific, technology-based effluent limits for known industrial dischargers of PFAS.
  • Implementing Best Management Practices (BMPs) such as product substitution, reduction, or elimination of PFAS for Industrial permits.
  • Using BMPs o address PFAS-containing firefighting foams for stormwater permits.
  • Conducting effluent, influent, and biosolids monitoring, and pretreatment program activities for POTWs.
  • Working with POTWs to reduce the amount of PFAS chemicals in biosolids.
  • Recommending public notice for draft permits with PFAS-specific conditions to potentially affected downstream public water systems.

For more information, read the press release and view the guidance memo.

The Proposed PFAS TRI Data Reporting Rule entitled, “Changes to Reporting Requirements for PFAS and to Supplier Notifications for Chemicals of Special Concern; Community Right-to-Know Toxic Chemical Release Reporting,” is aimed at improving Toxics Release Inventory (TRI) PFAS reporting. Information collected through TRI helps inform communities about nearby PFAS use and supports decision-making by companies, government agencies, non-governmental organizations, and the public. The new proposed rule would list PFAS as “chemicals of special concern,” and eliminate an exemption that allows facilities to avoid disclosing their PFAS releases and other waste management quantities when PFAS are used in minimal, or de minimis, concentrations. This change will also help ensure that purchasers of mixtures and trade name products containing these chemicals are informed of their presence in mixtures and products they purchase. In addition to PFAS, the proposed rule would also make the de minimis exemption unavailable for purposes of supplier notification requirements to downstream facilities for all “chemicals of special concern,” which includes other certain persistent, bioaccumulative and toxic chemicals like lead, mercury, and dioxins. For more information, read the press release, visit the EPA website, and view the Federal Register notice.