Massachusetts Finalizes Drinking Water Standard for PFAS

Beveridge & Diamond PC
Contact

Beveridge & Diamond PC

Massachusetts is establishing a drinking water limit of 20 ppt for six PFAS, combined. Final regulations are anticipated to be published in the Massachusetts Register on October 2, 2020. As we previously reported, the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP) proposed the limit for PFAS in drinking water in December 2019 at the same time as soil and groundwater standards were finalized under the Massachusetts Waste Site Cleanup program.

The Standard

MassDEP is establishing a Maximum Contaminant Level (MCL) of 20 nanograms per liter (ng/L) or ppt for the sum of the following six PFAS (“PFAS-6”):

  • Perfluorooctanesulfonic acid (PFOS),
  • Perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA),
  • Perfluorodecanoic acid (PFDA),
  • Perfluoroheptanoic acid (PFHpA),
  • Perfluorohexane sulfonic acid (PFHxS), and
  • Perfluorononanoic acid (PFNA). 

This MCL will apply to all public water systems except for transient non-community public water systems. Transient non-community public water systems are smaller water systems that typically do not serve the same people every day. Transient non-community public water systems are typically found at restaurants, motels, campgrounds, parks, and golf courses. Instead of the MCL, these systems will be subject to a site-specific health assessment if elevated levels of PFAS are identified. MassDEP has indicated that a standard has not been set for this group because it is a highly variable group of water supplies. 

Testing of Public Water Systems 

The regulations require that all public water systems monitor for PFAS. When monitoring must begin is staggered based on the type of system and system size, as follows:

System size or type Initiate monitoring  Impact
50,000 consumers
or more
In January 1, 2021 20 systems serving
4.3 million people
More than
10,000 and fewer than 50,000 consumers
In April 1, 2021 106 systems serving
2.6 million people
10,000 consumers
or less
In October 1, 2021 569 systems serving
708,000 people
All transient
non-community (regardless of size)
By September 20, 2022 Not indicated

Monitoring is initially required for four consecutive quarters, in the first month of each quarter, although MassDEP may issue a waiver to reduce the required monitoring to two quarters. 

Monitoring must be done using EPA Method 537 or 537.1, which can analyze for more than the regulated PFAS compounds. All PFAS that can be analyzed by the chosen method must be reported by the laboratory, and reported to MassDEP. EPA methods 537 and 537.1 can identify the following PFAS:

Specific PFAS

EPA Method 537

EPA Method 537.1

Perfluorobutanesulfonic acid (PFBS)

X

X

Perfluorodecanoic acid (PFDA),

X

X

Perfluorododecanoic acid (PFDoA)

X

X

Perfluoroheptanoic acid (PFHpA)

X

X

Perfluorohexane sulfonic acid (PFHxS),

X

X

Perfluorohexanoic acid (PFHxA)

X

X

Perfluorooctanesulfonic acid (PFOS)

X

X

Perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA)

X

X

Perfluorononanoic acid (PFNA)

X

X

Perfluorotetradecanoic acid (PFTA)

X

X

Perfluorotridecanoic acid (PFTrDA)

X

X

Perfluoroundecanoic acid (PFUnA)

X

X

Hexafluoropropylene oxide dimer acid

(HFPO-DA)

 

X

N-ethyl perfluorooctanesulfonamidoacetic acid

(NEtFOSAA)

X

X

N-methyl perfluorooctanesulfonamidoacetic acid

(NMeFOSAA)

X

X

4,8-Dioxa-3H-perfluorononanoic acid  (ADONA)

 

X

9-Chlorohexadecafluoro-3-oxanonane-1-sulfonic acid

(9Cl-PF3ONS)

 

X

11-Chloroeicosafluoro-3-oxaundecane-1-sulfonic acid

(11Cl-PF3OUdS)

 

X

In its responses to comments, MassDEP indicated it will consider including EPA Method 533, which can analyze for 11 additional PFAS, in a subsequent amendment. 

Impacts of Detections

Detection of PFAS in a public water supply triggers confirmatory sampling. If PFAS-6 is confirmed above 10 ppt, the frequency of monitoring increases to monthly. If the average of the sample and the confirmatory sample exceeds 20 ppt, notice must be provided to all persons who are served by the affected water system. 

If the average of monthly samples over a quarter is above 20 ppt for PFAS-6, the MCL is exceeded. In that event, the public water system must take action to come back into compliance. This could include taking a source of water offline, blending several sources of water, or treating the water.

Triennial Review

The regulations require MassDEP to evaluate relevant developments in the science, assessment, and regulation of PFAS once every three years, beginning not later than December 31, 2023, to determine whether the MCL should be amended.

The Upshot

Massachusetts is joining a small number of states that have established an MCL for PFAS. This puts Massachusetts ahead of US EPA’s regulatory process under the federal Safe Drinking Water Act. Only time will tell if Massachusetts has moved too quickly.

[View source.]

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.

© Beveridge & Diamond PC | Attorney Advertising

Written by:

Beveridge & Diamond PC
Contact
more
less

Beveridge & Diamond PC on:

Reporters on Deadline

"My best business intelligence, in one easy email…"

Your first step to building a free, personalized, morning email brief covering pertinent authors and topics on JD Supra:
*By using the service, you signify your acceptance of JD Supra's Privacy Policy.
Custom Email Digest
- hide
- hide

This website uses cookies to improve user experience, track anonymous site usage, store authorization tokens and permit sharing on social media networks. By continuing to browse this website you accept the use of cookies. Click here to read more about how we use cookies.