Leading Water Associations Ask EPA to Use 'Sound Science' for PFAS Regulation

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Nine leading water associations recently urged the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to use “sound science and robust analyses” as it evaluates drinking water standards for two per- and polyfluorinated substances (PFAS).

In a letter to EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler, the Association of California Water Agencies (ACWA), Association of Metropolitan Water Agencies (AMWA), American Water Works Association (AWWA), Ground Water Protection Council (GWPC), Irrigation Association, National Association of Water Companies (NAWC), National Ground Water Association (NGWA), National Rural Water Association (NRWA), and National Water Resources Association (NWRA) asked EPA to employ a holistic regulatory approach that protects source water from PFAS contamination, addresses public health concerns and ensures public confidence.

EPA on Feb. 20 announced its proposal to regulate PFOS and PFOA, two PFAS compounds, and requested comment on regulatory approaches for other PFAS. In the absence of a federal standard, several states have moved forward with setting their own regulations for various PFAS.

“We ask that EPA move expeditiously to prepare the requisite analyses critical to proposing sound drinking water standards,” the associations writes. “The implications of regulating these substances will be far-reaching.”

PFAS are a large group of man-made chemicals used in consumer products and industrial processes. In use since the 1940s, they have properties that make them persistent in the environment.

The letter asked EPA to:

  1. Provide the resources required to complete the technical and economic analyses necessary to support a proposed SDWA action for PFOA and PFOS.
  2. Begin engagement with outside experts to develop and review a public health risk assessment for PFAS beyond PFOA and PFOS to guide determining which PFAS or groups of PFAS should be targeted for data collection and risk management measures.
  3. Actively engage water systems, local government, state agencies, and other key stakeholders in the practical implementation of PFAS risk management including establishing the adequacy of analytical methods and capacity, effective risk communication, and sustainable treatment options, among other important factors.
  4. Accelerate research on water treatment, occurrence and health effects to support future decision making and contaminant prioritization.
  5. Leverage available regulatory tools in other statutes to gather occurrence and health risk assessment data and organize them to support research and decision making, using regulatory tools that include the Toxics Release Inventory, Sections 4 and 8 of the Toxic Substances Control Act, and the Unregulated Contaminant Monitoring Rule.


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