Congress Hones in on PFAS

  • by ACWA Staff
  • Aug 10, 2023
  • Water News

In late June, the U.S. Senate Environment and Public Works Committee (EPW) published a draft bill focused on addressing PFAS issues. Similarly, the House Armed Services Committee advanced a proposal to tackle “forever chemicals” as part of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for fiscal year 2024. ACWA has been tracking regulatory and legislative developments on PFAS closely.

Congress’ focus on PFAS pollution and contamination has been encouraged by a series of rulemakings from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) spanning several years, starting in 2019. Since then, EPA has moved forward with a proposed rule to set federally enforceable limits for six PFAS in drinking water; published a proposed rule to designate PFOA and PFOS as hazardous substances under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA); and released an Advanced Notice of Proposed Rulemaking seeking input on the development of regulations pertaining to additional PFAS under CERCLA. Most recently, EPA pushed the timeline for the final CERCLA rule from Aug. 2023 to Feb. 2024.

The push for legislation to address PFAS spans a variety of issues including disposal methods, community outreach, prohibition of PFAS in certain substances like aqueous firefighting foam and cosmetics, research on the health impacts of PFAS, relief for impacts of PFAS on agriculture and protections from CERCLA liability for various sectors. The draft legislation proposed by EPW focuses on creating a deadline for EPA to set a drinking water standard, providing additional funding for research and treatment technology, setting a definition for PFAS, authorizing a new emergency response program for disadvantaged communities, as well as other provisions. As of now, the draft legislation does not include CERCLA liability protections for water and wastewater providers. A summary of the draft legislation, a section-by-section, and the full text can be found on the EPW website.

ACWA submitted comments on the EPW draft legislation and circulated an Outreach Alert to members. ACWA will continue to engage with legislators to develop and advance necessary PFAS legislation this Congress.

For questions about PFAS legislation, please contact Federal Relations Representative Jay Tanner at jayt@acwa.com. For questions about PFAS regulations, please contact Federal Relations Representative Madeline Voitier at madelinev@acwa.com.

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