May 26, 2020

Maine PFAS Tracker - Maine Standards and Proposed Act

Pierce Atwood LLP offers this summary of Maine Per- and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances (PFAS) standards as a convenience in evaluating PFAS and tracking Maine Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) regulatory and Maine legislative developments.  Levels are provided below in parts per million (ppm), parts per billion (ppb), or parts per trillion (ppt), depending on the matrix typically involved. Please click here if you prefer to view or print this information as a PDF.

I.  Maine Drinking Water Program Guidance, Department of Health and Human Services 

PFOA & PFOS Combined 70 ppt

II.  Maine DEP Chapter 418, Beneficial Use of Solid Wastes, Appendix A – screening concentration – (secondary materials)This standard is taken from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Drinking Water Health Advisory of 2016.  ME CDC, Dec. 2016 provided the same standard.


PFOA .0025 2.5 2,500
PFOS .0052 5.2 5,200
PFBS 1.9 1,900 1,900,000

III.  Maine DEP Soil Remedial Action Guidelines (ppm) effective October 19, 2018These concentrations are also being applied as screening levels to residuals regulated under DEP Chapter 419, Agronomic Utilization of Residuals. If screening levels are exceeded, a “closer look” by the Department will occur. See Memorandum from David Burns, DEP to licensed facilities that land apply, compost, or process sludge in Maine, RE: Requirement to analyze for PFAS compounds, March 22, 2019 (link below).

Leaching to Groundwater 7.1 0.021 0.0095
Residential 1,700 1.7 1.7
Commercial 22,000 22 22
Park User 4,900 4.9 4.9
Recreator (Sediment) 5,700 5.7 5.7
Construction Worker 51,000 5.1 5.1

IV.  Maine DEP Water Remedial Action Guidelines (ppb) effective October 19, 2018

Residential 400 0.40 0.40
Construction 100,000 750 750

“For PFOA and PFOS, use EPA health advisory where groundwater is used or may be used for human consumption.”

V.  Maine DEP Fish Tissue Remedial Action Guidelines (ppm) effective October 19, 2018

PFOS 0.052
PFOA 0.52

PFOS and its salts were listed in July 2015 as “Chemicals of Concern,” under the Toxic Chemicals in Children’s Products Law, 38 M.R.S. section 1691, et seq.  At the same time, PFOS and its salts were also listed as “Chemicals of High Concern.” The listing qualifies a chemical for further regulation under this law. See the entry below, noting that DEP is proposing regulation of PFOS as a “High Priority” chemical. VI.  Maine DEP Chemicals of High Concern Listing 

VII.  Governor Mills’ Executive Order No. 5 FY 19/20 – An Order to Study the Threats of PFAS Contamination to Public Health and the Environment

On March 6, 2019, Governor Mills issued “An Order to Study the Threats of PFAS Contamination to Public Health and the Environment.” Citing the need for a coordinated response and the necessity of studying PFAS distribution, assessing potential impacts, and recommending strategies to mitigate the impacts, Governor Mills established a task force comprised of the commissioners of four state agencies, as well as a public health physician and a representative selected by the commissioners of the Maine DEP and Maine DHHS from several different specified groups or entities. The task force has multiple specific tasks including gathering information, identifying data gaps, sources and pathways for PFAS, inventorying aqueous film forming foam (AFFF), and addressing how state agencies my reduce or eliminate risks. The task force report is to be issued as soon as reasonably practicable.

VIII.  Maine DEP Memorandum to Licensed Facilities that Land Apply, Compost, or Process Sludge in Maine

This memorandum from David Burns, DEP to Licensed facilities that land apply, compost, or process sludge in Maine, RE: Requirement to analyze for PFAS compounds, March 22, 2019, requires testing of certain materials for certain PFAS. All biosolids/sludge program licensees and biosolids/sludge composting facilities are now directed to test their material for PFOA, PFOS, and PFBS, and to update their Sampling and Analytical Work Plan to include sampling and analysis for these compounds, before any additional land application of these materials. Includes detailed sampling and analytical recommendations. 

IX.  Maine DEP Proposed Regulations and Other Guidance

  1. Chapter 890, Designation of PFOS as a Priority Chemical.  The Department is proposing to adopt a new rule that will designate PFOS as a priority chemical and require reporting for certain product categories that contains this regulated chemical. The proposed rule applies to manufacturers of specified product categories that contain intentionally added amounts of PFOS, which is or was used to make clothing water repellant, among many other uses.  Comments due May 6, 2019. 
  2. DEP is holding a public stakeholder meeting on May 31, 2019 on its planned rulemaking to designate all PFAS as hazardous matter under 38 M.R.S. Section 1319. Because the law prohibits discharges of hazardous matter, this rule would prohibit all discharges of PFAS unless licensed under state or federal law. Further, any unlicensed discharges would require reporting and removal to the satisfaction of the DEP. "Hazardous matter" is automatically picked up as a hazardous substance under the Uncontrolled Hazardous Substance Sites Law (Maine's "Superfund"). Thereafter, DEP would have authority to designate sites, require cleanups, and seek cost-recovery for PFAS contamination.
  3. Maine DEP Bureau of Remediation and Waste Management, Division of Technical Services Memorandum, To: Carla Hopkins, Environmental Specialist IV, cc: David Burns, Acting Bureau Director, From: Kelly Perkins, Chemist 3, Date: March 26, 2019, Re: Per- And Polyfluoroalkyl Substances (PFAS) Laboratory Recommendations. Suggests items for discussion with laboratories before analysis of samples.

X.  Proposed Legislation – 129th Maine Legislature, First Regular Session – 2019

LD 1433 -- An Act to Protect the Environment and Public Health by Further Reducing Toxic Chemicals in Packaging.  This Act would amend the 1989 Reduction of Toxics in Packaging law, which applied to four metals in all packaging or packaging components, and expands the provisions to reach phthalates, PFAS, and additional chemicals of concern in food packages. The Act includes certain bans, and rulemakings that may lead to bans or other requirements. There is an exemption to the bans, but not the other requirements, if the manufacturer of a food or beverage product has annual national sales of all food and beverage products of less than $1 billion, if the manufacturer is willing to certify and if the DEP approves the certification, which must be renewed every two years.

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PFAS Names and CAS Numbers

Perfluorobutanesulfonic acid (PFBS) CAS # 375-73-5, 59933-66-3
Perfluorooctanesulfonic acid (conjugate base perfluorooctanesulfonate) (PFOS) CAS # 1763-23-1
Perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) (conjugate base perfluorooctanoate) CAS # 335-67-1

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About this Author

Tom Doyle, Environmental Attorney, Land Use Lawyer, Northeast, Pierce Atwood Law Firm
Partner (Retired)

Tom Doyle retired as a partner in Pierce Atwood's Environmental & Land Use Practice Group with more than 30 years of experience in all areas of environmental and land use law, including adjudicatory proceedings, transactions, permitting, client counseling, enforcement defense, brownfield redevelopment, and legislation. Tom's practice has frequently involved the successful permitting of major development projects that face opposition or complex environmental and land use issues. His transactional experience has included serving as lead environmental counsel in public...

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Lisa Gilbreath, Pierce Atwood, Environmental lawyer

Lisa Gilbreath is an associate in the Environmental & Land Use and Energy Infrastructure Development, Acquisition & Financing practice groups. Lisa works on a wide variety of environmental and energy matters, offering clients strategic advice in regulatory, legislative, and judicial proceedings.

In her environmental practice, Lisa assists clients with numerous issues including energy project development permitting, energy and environmental litigation, air quality legislative and regulatory activities, air quality enforcement, hazardous substances and hazardous waste management, and contaminated property remediation and cleanup.  She has broad experience obtaining the regulatory approvals for large transmission and other major energy infrastrucure projects, and works closely with her colleagues in the Energy Infrastructure practice group to provide clients with comprehensive development and siting counsel, particularly in the renewables space.  Lisa’s background in energy law gives her a unique ability to advise clients in matters that intersect environmental and energy law issues.

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Kenneth Gray, Pierce Atwood, Environmental lawyer

Ken Gray joined Pierce Atwood's Environmental Group in 1987 after practicing with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's Office of General Counsel in Washington, D.C. Ken has practiced environmental law since his graduation from law school in 1979.

Ken concentrates on counseling and enforcement issues related to hazardous substance and hazardous waste management, cleanup, and liability, including toxic tort matters; chemical safety requirements under a variety of laws including the Occupational Safety and Health Act; product regulation including toxic...

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William E Taylor, Pierce Atwood, environmental lawyer

Since joining Pierce Atwood's Environmental Group in 1984, Bill Taylor has devoted his legal practice to matters related to water law, waste discharge, stormwater and natural resource licensing, compliance counseling, rulemaking, auditing, and enforcement. He regularly represents clients before local, state, and federal administrative agencies.

Bill is experienced in the negotiation and structuring of complex waste discharge and wetland alteration licenses, including site-specific water quality criteria development, use attainability analyses and 316(b)...

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