EPA Announces New “Strategic Roadmap” for PFAS

Troutman Pepper

Yesterday, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced a new “Strategic Roadmap (Roadmap),” describing a suite of ongoing and future agency actions to address per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS). While many of these actions were previously presented in EPA’s 2019 PFAS Action Plan, or in more recent announcements, the Roadmap provides additional updates and clarity into the expected timing of some regulatory actions. The new projected dates for some key regulatory initiatives include the following:

  • Draft analytical method for measuring total fluorine in wastewater as one means of measuring “total PFAS” – Fall 2021
  • Final Unregulated Contaminants Monitoring Rule to require reporting on 29 PFAS compounds in public drinking water – Fall 2021
  • Proposed designation of PFOA and PFOS as hazardous substances under CERCLA – Spring 2022 (with a final rule expected Summer 2023)
  • Advanced notice of proposed rulemaking to collect information on designation of other PFAS compounds as hazardous substances under CERCLA – Spring 2022
  • Proposed expansion on which PFAS must be reported through the Toxics Release Inventory program and removal of de minimis exceptions for supplier notifications – Spring 2022
  • Health Advisory Levels for GenX compounds and perfluorobutane sulfonic acid (PFBS) – Spring 2022
  • New Voluntary Stewardship Program for reduction of PFAS releases from industry – Spring 2022
  • Proposed Maximum Contaminant Levels or treatment techniques for PFOA and PFOS in drinking water systems – Fall 2022 (with a final rule expected Fall 2023)
  • Publish an analytical method to measure 40 PFAS compounds in eight environmental media (g., wastewater) validated by multiple laboratories – Fall 2022
  • Evaluate basis for listing some PFAS as Hazardous Air Pollutants under the Clean Air Act – Fall 2022
  • New guidance to states on monitoring and addressing PFAS in NPDES permits – Winter 2022
  • Recommended aquatic life water quality criteria for PFOA and PFOS and benchmarks for other PFAS – Winter 2022
  • Advance Effluent Limitations Guidelines for discharges from PFAS-related industries (potentially including a proposed rule) – 2022-2024
  • Recommended human health water quality criteria for PFOA and PFOS – Fall 2024
  • Final risk assessment for PFOA and PFOS in biosolids – Winter 2024

Many of these planned federal actions resemble or overlap with actions already taken by states. Michigan, for example, has developed ambient water quality standards for PFOA and PFOS, and several states already impose Maximum Contaminant Levels for PFOA, PFOS, and certain other PFAS compounds.

It will be critical for companies potentially impacted by PFAS regulation or liability to closely track (and potentially comment on) upcoming PFAS rule proposals and evaluate how new EPA guidance will affect their compliance strategies. We will continue to update you as we learn more details about these developments. In the meantime, please reach out to our team with any questions about PFAS.

DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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