EPA Announces First Validated Laboratory Method to Test for PFAS

Oct. 8, 2021

A partnership between EPA and the Department of Defense’s Strategic Environmental Research and Development Program has produced draft Method 1633

The U.S. EPA, in collaboration with the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD), published a draft of the first EPA-validated laboratory analytical method to test for per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) in eight different environmental media, including wastewater, surface water, groundwater, and soils.

This method provides certainty and consistency and advances PFAS monitoring that is essential to protecting public health, according to the EPA press release.

“This new testing method advances the science and our understanding of PFAS in the environment, so we can better protect people from exposure,” said EPA Administrator Michael S. Regan in the EPA press release. “This illustrates the progress we can make when working with federal partners in an all of government approach. I want to thank the DoD for its leadership on this issue and for working with us to achieve this important milestone.”

A partnership between EPA and the Department of Defense’s Strategic Environmental Research and Development Program has produced draft Method 1633, a single-laboratory validated method to test for 40 PFAS compounds in wastewater, surface water, groundwater, soil, biosolids, sediment, landfill leachate, and fish tissue.

Until now, regulated entities and environmental laboratories relied upon modified EPA methods or in-house laboratory standard operating procedures to analyze PFAS in these settings. With the support of the agency’s Council on PFAS, EPA and DoD will continue to collaborate to complete a multi-laboratory validation study of the method in 2022, according to EPA. 

“This is one of many examples of strong EPA – DoD Collaboration on issues of national importance. Currently the Department is working with EPA, other federal agencies, academic institutions, and industry on over 130 PFAS-related research efforts, and we expect further progress in the future,” said Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Environment and Energy Resilience Richard Kidd in the press release.

This draft method can be used in various applications, including National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permits.

The method will support NPDES implementation by providing a consistent PFAS method that has been tested in a wide variety of wastewater and contains all the required quality control procedures for a Clean Water Act (CWA) method. While the method is not nationally required for CWA compliance monitoring until EPA has promulgated it through rulemaking, it is recommended now for use in individual permits. 

Draft Method 1633 complements existing validated methods to test for PFAS in drinking water and non-potable water.

For more information on CWA Analytical Methods for PFAS click here.

For Frequent Questions about PFAS Methods for NPDES Permits, click here.

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