U.S. EPA Announces Three Recent Actions to Address PFAS in Water

You are here

May 19, 20223E Regulatory Research TeamBlog

On 28 April 2022 the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced three recent actions taken to address per- and polyfluoroalkyl substance (PFAS) contamination in water as part of the Administration's Plan to Combat PFAS Pollution.

3E Review 

The following three actions are part of the Plan to Combat PFAS Pollution by improving methods to detect PFAS in water, reducing PFAS discharges into our nation’s waters, and protecting fish and aquatic ecosystems from PFAS. 

New Testing Method

The EPA is publishing a new method that can broadly screen for the presence of PFAS in water at the part per billion level. The EPA’s Draft Method 1621, "Screening Method for the Determination of Absorbable Organic Fluorine (AOF) in Aqueous Matrices by Combustion Ion Chromatography (CIC)," provides an aggregate measurement of chemical substances that contain carbon-fluorine bonds. The EPA’s Draft Method 1621 has successfully completed single laboratory validation, and multi-laboratory validation will take place in the summer of 2022. The agency intends to publish an updated version of the method later this year.

New Permitting Direction 

The EPA issued a memo, "Addressing PFAS Discharges in EPA-Issued NPDES Permits and Expectations Where EPA is the Pretreatment Control Authority." This memo provides instructions for monitoring provisions, analytical methods, the use of pollution prevention, and best management practices to address discharges of PFAS. The EPA also plans to issue new guidance to state permitting authorities to address PFAS in National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permits in a future action.

New Protective Levels 

The agency is proposing the first Clean Water Act aquatic life criteria for perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) and perfluorooctane sulfonic acid (PFOS). The criteria are intended to protect aquatic life in the United States from short- and long-term toxic effects of PFOA and PFOS. Following the comment period, the EPA intends to issue final PFOA and PFOS recommended criteria, considering public comments and any new toxicity data. 

3E Analysis

For more information on the EPA’s PFAS Strategic Roadmap, visit PFAS Strategic Roadmap: EPA's Commitments to Action 2021-2024