Mar 16, 2020

PFAS Testing & Treatment Act Introduced

A $20 billion bill has been rolled out to remove PFAS from water.

drinking water

A new bill from Senate Democrats would roll out $20 billion in funding to remove PFAS from water.

The bill, Providing Financial Assistance to States for Testing and Treatment Act of 2020, is also known as the PFAS Testing and Treatment Act. 

The bill would expand the reach of existing water programs run by the U.S. EPA and increase the funding of various grant programs, while allowing that money to be used to remove PFAS from water.

The funds could be used by major water systems or even homeowners who need to have private wells tested, according to the Hill.

“This widespread concern demands a comprehensive, meaningful response from Congress so American families can trust the safety of the water coming out of their tap,” said Sen. Jeanne Shaheen in a statement. “This new legislation is an important step to help meet that goal by delivering robust federal resources to states to invest in remediation so we can quickly and efficiently clean our drinking water supplies when contamination is detected.”

The bill sets $20 million aside, over the course of a decade, reported the Hill.

Much of that previous funding has gone to the military, which has spread PFAS contamination through firefighting foam containing the contaminant. According to the Pentagon, its own PFAS clean-up costs will exceed $2 billion.

The bill would also allow for cleanup of drinking water as well as groundwater which has been contaminated. The funding gives preference to treatment methods that destroy PFAS entirely.

There are concerns from utilities that the bill sets aside too much money, however.

“We do appreciate members of Congress offering financial assistance to address a contaminant,” said Tommy Holmes, legislative director for the American Water Works Association (AWWA). “In a given utility, the bigger need may be in removing lead service lines, finding a better source of water or simply replacing aging infrastructure.” 

“We applaud Sen. Shaheen for introducing the PFAS Testing and Treatment Act, which will provide critical relief to communities in New Hampshire and around the country that have been hardest hit by the PFAS contamination crisis,” said Colin O’Neil, EWG’s legislative director in a statement. “As many as 110 million Americans are drinking water contaminated with PFAS, which has been linked to cancer, reproductive and developmental problems, and reduced effectiveness of vaccines. The PFAS Testing and Treatment Act provides Congress with a blueprint for funding cleanup efforts that is commensurate with the urgent public health threats posed by PFAS contamination.

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