Feb 14, 2019

EPA Releases PFAS Action Plan

The new plan does not include a drinking water limit for the emerging contaminants

EPA releases action plan to address emerging contaminants in drinking water
EPA releases action plan to address emerging contaminants in drinking water

On Feb. 14, the U.S. EPA unveiled the agency’s Per- and Polyfluoralkyl Substances (PFAS) Action Plan. The plan calls for 25 steps to address the emerging contaminants. Notably, the EPA will propose limits in drinking water for PFOA and PFOS by the end of the year.

The plan includes continuing enforcement actions and aims to clarify cleanup strategies. It will continue to list PFOA and PFOS as hazardous substances under Superfund laws, but it does not set any new standards to target the contaminants. According to MLive, the plan also includes expanding focus on monitoring and understanding PFAS in the environment, as well as expanding research efforts by developing new analytical methods. Finally, the plan calls for increased public education regarding the threat of the contaminants to public health.

“For the first time in (EPA) agency history, we utilized all of our program offices to construct an all-encompassing plan to help states and local communities address PFAS and protect our nation’s drinking water,” said EPA Acting Administrator Andrew Wheeler in a statement. “We are moving forward with several important actions, including the maximum contaminant level process, that will help affected communities better monitor, detect, and address PFAS.”

While the EPA’s current health advisory for PFAS in drinking water is 70 ppt, some health experts believe this standard is not rigorous enough, according to The Hill. EPA has promised to propose a new regulatory determination by the end of the year.

“None of these processes can be done overnight,” Wheeler said, reported The Atlanta Journal Constitution.

The newly released action plan has also received criticism for not answering calls from the public to further regulate emerging contaminants.

“While EPA acts with the utmost urgency to repeal regulations, the agency ambles with complacency when it comes to taking real steps to protect the water we drink and the air we breathe,” said Sen. Tom Carper (D-Dela.).