EPA launches national strategy on PFAS pollution

Oct. 18, 2021
The Strategic Roadmap plans to map aggressive PFAS management, including timelines to set drinking water limits under the Safe Drinking Water Act.

Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced the agency’s comprehensive Strategic Roadmap to confront PFAS contamination nationwide. The Roadmap is the result of a thorough analysis conducted by the EPA Council on PFAS that was established in April 2021.

The Strategic Roadmap is centered on three guiding strategies: Increase investments in research, leverage authorities to restrict PFAS chemicals from being released into the environment and accelerate the cleanup of PFAS contamination.

 “This comprehensive, national PFAS strategy will deliver protections to people who are hurting, by advancing bold and concrete actions that address the full lifecycle of these chemicals,” said EPA Administrator Michael S. Regan.

Today, alongside the release of the Roadmap, the agency is also announcing a new national testing strategy that requires PFAS manufacturers to provide the agency with toxicity data and information on categories of PFAS chemicals. The PFAS to be tested will be selected based on an approach that breaks the large number of PFAS today into smaller categories and considers what existing data are available for each category.

EPA’s initial set of test orders for PFAS, which are expected in a matter of months, will be selected from more than 20 different categories of PFAS. This set of orders will provide the agency with critical information on more than 2,000 other PFAS that fall within these categories.

The Roadmap lays out:

  • Aggressive timelines to set enforceable drinking water limits under the Safe Drinking Water Act to ensure water is safe to drink in every community.
  • A hazardous substance designation under CERCLA, to strengthen the ability to hold polluters financially accountable.
  • Timelines for action on Effluent Guideline Limitations under the Clean Water Act for nine industrial categories.
  • A review of past actions on PFAS taken under the Toxic Substances Control Act to address those that are insufficiently protective.
  • Increased monitoring, data collection and research so that the agency can identify what actions are needed and when to take them.

President Biden has recently called for more than $10 billion in funding to address PFAS contamination through his Build Back Better agenda and the Bipartisan Infrastructure Deal. These resources will enable EPA and other federal agencies to scale up the research and work so that they meet the scale of PFAS contamination.

Over the coming weeks, EPA will be working to partner for progress on PFAS. The agency will be engaging with a wide range of stakeholders to continue to identify collaborative solutions to the PFAS challenge, including two national webinars that will be held on October 26 and November 2.

SOURCE: Environmental Protection Agency

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