Pennsylvania PFAS Drinking Water Standards Set
Last week, Pennsylvania’s Environmental Quality Board voted in favor of establishing drinking water standards for PFOA at 14 parts per trillion (ppt) and PFOS at 18 ppt. The Pennsylvania PFAS drinking water standard would require water companies and municipalities to regularly monitor water for PFAS, and treat the water if it exceeds the MCLs. The proposal must now be approved by the Independent Regulatory Review Commission and the Attorney General, but these measures are expected to pass without controversy. Detections at or above these levels could lead to enforcement actions against companies that the state feels contributed to the contamination of drinking water sources.
Now more than ever, the EPA is clearly on a path to regulate PFAS contamination in the country’s water, land and air. These regulations will require states to act, as well (and some states may still enact stronger regulations than the EPA). Meanwhile, individual states are enacting their own PFAS standards, as is reflected in the Pennsylvania PFAS drinking water standards in effect and proposed. Both the federal and the state level regulations will impact businesses and industries of many kinds, even if their contribution to drinking water contamination issues may seem on the surface to be de minimus. In states that already have PFAS drinking water standards enacted, businesses and property owners have already seen local environmental agencies scrutinize possible sources of PFAS pollution much more closely than ever before, which has resulted in unexpected costs. Beyond drinking water, though, the EPA PFAS Roadmap from 2021 shows the EPA’s desire to take regulatory action well beyond just drinking water, and companies absolutely must begin preparing now for regulatory actions that will have significant financial impacts down the road.