On October 18, 2021, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released the enclosed document “PFAS Strategic Roadmap: EPA’s Commitments to Action, 2021-2024” (pfas-roadmap_final-508). The document describes PFAS activities for several different EPA offices including: (1) Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention, (2) Office of Water, (3) Office of Land and Emergency Management, (4) Office of Air and Radiation, and (5) Office of Research and Development.
The following drinking water actions are included in the document:
- Undertake nationwide monitoring for PFAS in drinking water, final rule expected fall 2021 (this is the Unregulated Contaminant Monitoring Rule 5, UCMR5, that was proposed on March 11, 2021 and included monitoring for 29 PFAS).
- Establish national primary drinking water regulations for PFOA and PFOS, proposed rule expected fall 2022, final rule expected Fall 2023 (this is sooner than required under the Safe Drinking Water Act, see background below).
- Publish health advisories for GenX and PFBS, expected Spring 2022.
- Publish updates to PFAS analytical methods to monitor drinking water, expected Fall 2024.
Link to PFAS Roadmap actions for the Office of Water:
(scrolling up or down on this EPA page presents additional information on EPA’s PFAS Roadmap)
Link to today’s statement from the White House that discusses the EPA PFAS Roadmap, as well as PFAS activities by a number of other federal agencies:
Background on Setting MCLs for PFOA and PFOS
The Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA) requires that every five years, EPA is required to publish a list of currently unregulated contaminants that “are not subject to any proposed or promulgated NPDWRs [National Primary Drinking Water Regulation], are known or anticipated to occur in public water systems and may require regulation under the SDWA” (referred to as the Contaminant Candidate List or CCL). Every five years, EPA is also required to determine whether or not to regulate at least five contaminants from the CCL.
The fourth CCL was published in November 2016 and contained PFOA and PFOS. In March 2020, EPA published for a 60-day public comment period a proposed Regulatory Determination to establish drinking water regulations for PFOA and PFOS. Public comments were due by June 10, 2020.
The final Regulatory Determination was signed for publication by the EPA Administrator on January 15, 2021. When the Biden Administration took office on January 20, 2021, a Regulatory Freeze was issued that included regulations signed but not yet published in the Federal Register. Under the new Administration, on March 3, 2021, the final Regulatory Determination to regulate PFOA and PFOS was published in the Federal Register.
Under the SDWA, when a final Regulatory Determination is published in the Federal Register, EPA has 24 months to propose a Maximum Contaminant Level Goal (MCLG) and a NPDWR for public review and comment. Following that deadline, EPA will then have 18 months to publish the final MCLG and NPDWR.