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Federal

In June 2022, the U.S. EPA established interim updated health advisory levels (HALs) for PFOA (.004 ppt) and PFOS (0.2 ppt); they were previously set at 70 ppt individually or combined. The EPA also established final HALs for GenX (10 ppt) and PFBS (2,000 ppt). The EPA’s health advisories are non-enforceable and non-regulatory and provide technical information to states, agencies, and other public health officials on health effects, analytical methodologies, and treatment technologies associated with drinking-water contamination. The EPA has also taken the following actions:

DECEMBER

  • OMB Completes Review of RCRA PFAS Rule (December 5, 2023)
    The White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) completed review of a proposed EPA rule that would clarify that PFAS listed as “hazardous constituents” are subject to the Resource Conservation Recovery Act (RCRA) corrective active program. However, a second RCRA PFAS rule that sought to list four PFAS as “hazardous constituents” remains under interagency review. The Department of Defense and industry have expressed concerns about listing at least some of these PFAS as hazardous constituents. Listing PFAS as hazardous constituents could lead to their listing as RCRA hazardous wastes, which would result in their automatic listing as Superfund hazardous substances and therefore open the door to cost recovery and contribution claims.
  • OMB Reviews Final EPA Rule to Designate PFAS Under CERCLA (December 6, 2023)
    On December 6, 2023, the White House OMB initiated its interagency review of the EPA’s proposed rule to designate PFAS as Superfund “hazardous substances” under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA). The EPA received 65,000 comments on its proposal, and the EPA is scheduled to meet an internal deadline to promulgate the rule by March 2024.
  • EPA Sends PFAS Drinking Water Rule to OMB for Interagency Review (December 15, 2023)
    On December 15, 2023, the EPA sent its National Primary Drinking Water Regulations to set enforceable Safe Drinking Water Act limits for PFAS to the White House OMB for interagency review. Under the draft rule, released last March, the EPA proposed to set strict standards for six PFAS in drinking water, including limits on PFOA and PFOS at 4 parts per trillion, a level more stringent than any state has set, while regulating four other PFAS as a mixture using a novel “hazard index” (HI) approach. Under the HI approach, the EPA proposed to set a maximum contaminant level (MCL) at a unitless 1.0. The four chemicals that would be subject to the HI approach under the draft rule are hexafluoropropylene oxide (HFPO) dimer acid, which is more commonly referred to as a GenX chemical, PFNA, PFHxS, and PFBS.
  • U.S. House Reintroduce PFAS Action Bill
    The U.S. House of Representatives introduced a sweeping bipartisan bill addressing PFAS. The PFAS Action Act would, among other things, require the EPA to establish national drinking-water standards for PFOA and PFOS, accelerate designation of PFOA and PFOS as hazardous substances (and require the EPA to decide whether to list other PFAS within five years), designate PFOA and PFOS as hazardous air pollutants under the Clean Air Act within five years, require the EPA to place discharge limits on industrial releases of PFAS, prohibit certain incineration of PFAS wastes and place a moratorium on the introduction of new PFAS into commerce, and create a voluntary label for PFAS in cookware.

NOVEMBER

  • EPA Releases New Monitoring Data Under UCMR5, Showing Additional PFAS Drinking-Water Detections (November 9, 2023)
    The Safe Drinking Water Act requires that once every five years, the EPA must issue a list of unregulated contaminants to be monitored by public water systems. The fifth Unregulated Contaminant Monitoring Rule (UCMR5) was published on December 27, 2021. As required by UCMR5, the EPA released a second set of data that shows increased detections of the two most-studied PFAS (PFOA and PFOS) compared to the first set of data, and varying detections for 27 other PFAS. A summary of the new data can be found here.

OCTOBER

  • EPA Could Reopen Superfund Cleanup Decisions at PFAS-Contaminated Sites on Case-by-Case Basis (October 31, 2023)
    During an October 27 session of the Association of State and Territorial Solid Waste Management Officials’ annual conference, the chief of the EPA’s Office of Resource Conservation and Recovery – Cleanup Programs Branch said the EPA’s proposal to designate PFAS as hazardous under CERCLA (also known as Superfund) could lead it to reopen past cleanup actions. The chief elaborated that the agency would most likely make such decisions on a “case-by-case basis.”
  • EPA Finalizes TRI Rule Eliminating de Minimis Exemption for PFAS and Other Chemicals of Special Concern (October 20, 2023)
    The EPA finalized a Toxics Release Inventory (TRI) rule that eliminates the reporting exemption for de minimis amounts of PFAS and removes the de minimis exemption for all chemicals of special concern when notifying downstream manufacturers and purchasers. TRI data is reported to the EPA annually by facilities in industry sectors such as manufacturing, metal mining, electric power generation, chemical manufacturing, and hazardous waste treatment, as well as federal facilities that manufacture, process, or otherwise use notable quantities of TRI-listed chemicals. This new rule eliminates the de minimis exemption for TRI-listed PFAS and requires facilities to report on PFAS regardless of their concentration in mixtures, since according to the EPA, many PFAS are used in low concentrations in mixtures and the continued availability of the exemption for PFAS would permit facilities to discount those uses when determining their TRI reporting responsibilities. The rule will apply to the reporting year beginning January 1, 2024.
  • EPA Issues Guidance for PFAS Reporting Under Final TSCA Rule (October 18, 2023)
    Shortly after publishing Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) Section 8(a)(7), which requires comprehensive PFAS reporting and recordkeeping by manufacturers of PFAS, the EPA issued detailed instructions for companies to follow when submitting the required data. The instructions outline who must report, what information must be reported, and whether to report through joint submissions. Additionally, the instructions explain how to report when a chemical identity is unknown and how to report worker exposures and disposal of PFAS.
  • EPA Formally Publishes TSCA Rule Requiring Comprehensive PFAS Reporting and Recordkeeping (October 11, 2023)
    The EPA published a final rule, Toxic Substances Control Act Reporting and Recordkeeping Requirements for Perfluoroalkyl and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances, also known as TSCA Section 8(a)(7). The rule requires any entity or person that has manufactured PFAS for a commercial purpose in any year since January 1, 2011 to submit PFAS uses, production volumes, byproducts, disposals, exposures, and existing information on environmental or health effects to the EPA. The rule does not include de minimis exemptions, meaning that any amount of PFAS that is manufactured or imported must be reported to the EPA. The rule became effective on November 13, 2023.
  • EPA Begins Applying PFAS Framework to Nine Pending Applications (October 3, 2023)
    The assistant administrator for the EPA’s Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention (OSCPP) wrote to the U.S. House of Representatives that the EPA “is applying the [PFAS Framework] in its review” of nine pending significant new use notices filed by Inhance Technologies, along with “other PFAS new chemical notices currently under review and any received in the future.” The PFAS Framework, announced by the EPA in late June 2023, tightens practices for reviewing new PFAS and new PFAS uses under the TSCA. In particular, the PFAS Framework focuses on data needs and the alleged potential for human exposure or environmental releases from the uses under consideration.

SEPTEMBER

  • EPA Sends Updated PFAS Destruction Guidance for White House Review (September 25, 2023)
    The EPA sent to the White House for interagency review an updated version of its interim guidance for the destruction and disposal of PFAS. The EPA’s guidance was issued in 2020 and outlined available technologies but declined to endorse or dismiss any, including incineration, while noting uncertainties and knowledge gaps that still needed to be addressed.
  • EPA Finalizes PFAS Reporting Rule Under the Toxic Substances Control Act (September 28, 2023)
    The EPA finalized its reporting and recordkeeping rule under the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA). Any person that manufactures (including imports) or has manufactured (including imported) PFAS or PFAS-containing articles in any year since January 1, 2011, must electronically report information about PFAS uses, production volumes, disposal, exposures, and hazards. Any entities that have manufactured (including imported) PFAS in any year since 2011 will have 18 months following the effective date to report PFAS data to the EPA. Small manufacturers whose reporting obligations under the rule are exclusively from article imports will have 24 months from the effective date to report PFAS.

    The EPA did not implement a blanket articles exemption and instead sought to alleviate the burden on industry by allowing manufacturers (including importers) that do not know or cannot “reasonably obtain” certain information on PFAS in their products to indicate that on a streamlined form. The EPA expanded the proposed definition of PFAS and is providing a list of substances that meet this definition.

    The rule will enable the EPA to better characterize the sources and quantities of manufactured PFAS in the United States.

AUGUST

  • Despite Pressure from Water Utilities, EPA Aims to Finalize SDWA PFAS Rule by the End of December 2023 (August 8, 2023)
    The EPA announced it will promulgate its Safe Drinking Water Act PFAS proposed rule by the end of December 2023, even as water utility officials have pressured the agency to delay the proposed rule until the EPA receives new data. The proposed rule would set a maximum contaminant level for PFOA and PFOS at 4 ppt, while regulating four other PFAS (HFPO, PFNA, PFHxS, and PFBS) as a mixture using a novel “hazard index” approach.
  • EPA Issues Next Test Order Under National PFAS Testing Strategy for PFAS Used in Chemical Manufacturing (August 15, 2023)
    The EPA issued its third Toxic Substances Control Act test order requiring testing on PFAS under its National PFAS Testing Strategy, the latest action taken under the EPA PFAS Strategic Roadmap. The test order also requires certain companies to conduct and submit testing and data on HFPO-DAF, a substance used as a reactant in organic chemical manufacturing and is also known to be used to make GenX. HFPO-DAF is also widely used as a replacement for PFOA.
  • EPA Selects PFAS as One of Its National Enforcement and Compliance Initiatives (August 17, 2023)
    The EPA selected and adopted its National Enforcement and Compliance Initiatives for the 2024–2027 cycle, which includes an initiative to address exposure to PFAS contamination. According to the EPA, the initiative will focus on implementing the EPA’s PFAS Strategic Roadmap to pursue those who manufactured PFAS and/or used PFAS in the manufacturing process, federal facilities that released PFAS, and other industrial parties that may have significantly contributed to the release of PFAS into the environment. Initial goals include:
    • Identifying and characterizing the extent of PFAS contamination near PFAS manufacturing/use facilities in the country, using authorities such as CERCLA, the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act, the Clean Water Act, and the Safe Drinking Water Act.
    • Performing oversight of PFAS characterization and control activities at federal facilities.
    • Continuing to address alleged violations and imminent and substantial endangerment situations by major PFAS manufacturers, federal facilities, and other industrial parties.
  • EPA Rescinds PFAS Guidance Memorandum (August 17, 2023)
    The EPA rescinded a Trump-era guidance from 2019, Interim Recommendations to Address Groundwater Contaminated with PFOA and PFOS because the memorandum “no longer reflects the best, current available science.”


JULY

  • Department of Defense Lifts PFAS Incineration Ban (July 11, 2023)
    The Department of Defense issued implementation guidance that effectively lifts a congressional ban on PFAS incineration while endorsing three other disposal methods for PFAS as higher-priority options. The guidance also includes an “Interim PFAS Disposal Decision Tree” to guide services in making decisions on disposal methods and steering them toward nonincineration methods first.
  • EPA Seeks to Expand Ban on Items Containing PFAS from Labeling Programs (July 21, 2023)
    The EPA requested written comments on how it can expand two voluntary programs that highlight cleaning products with “safer” chemicals into more product categories, while also upholding pledges to ban products that contain “intentionally added” PFAS from the program. The Safer Choice program certifies products containing ingredients that meet the program’s specific human health and environmental toxicological criteria and allows companies to use its label on certified products with sister ingredients and that perform as well as prior formulations. The EPA hopes to eliminate all PFAS from the Safer Choice program by January 2024 and is contemplating expanding the program to include personal care products regulated by the FDA.
  • EPA Considers Requiring Facilities to Report PFAS Air Emissions Under Federal Requirements (July 25, 2023)
    The EPA announced proposed revisions to the federal air emissions reporting requirements (AERR), including an option to include PFAS as a required pollutant. The EPA believes the revisions are necessary because point source emissions can deposit PFAS into nearby drinking-water bodies. The agency is seeking feedback on subjecting 189 PFAS (already subject to Toxics Release Inventory reporting) to AERR. The deadline to submit written comments on the proposed revisions is October 18, 2023.


JUNE

  • DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE PREPARING FOR IMPLEMENTATION OF DISPOSAL GUIDE PRESUMED TO LIFT PFAS INCINERATION BAR (June 7, 2023)
    The Department of Defense is readying the implementation of guidance lifting the moratorium, implemented April 2022, on PFAS incineration.
  • EPA Finalizes Rule Adding PFAS to Toxic Release Inventory
    EPA is issuing a final rule that formally incorporates nine PFAS into the Toxics Release Inventory (TRI) program, codifying additions the agency first announced in January while also signaling that those will be the only PFAS that the agency finds to meet statutory triggers for addition to TRI in the current reporting year. The additions of the nine PFAS are effective as of January 1, 2023, meaning facilities that release any of those chemicals from that date on must report to TRI.  Submissions for the program’s 2023 reporting year are due July 1, 2024. EPA originally announced the additions in January, but is now only finalizing the regulatory changes.
  • EPA Extends Comment Period on Plan to Add PFAS To CERCLA Designation
    The EPA is giving stakeholders more time to provide input and data on whether the agency should consider regulating additional PFAS under CERCLA beyond the two most-studied ones, PFOA and PFOS, extending the comment period by 60 days to August 11, 2023. These include PFBS, PFHxS, PFNA, HFPO-DA, PFBA, PFHxA, and PFDA. The EPA published the advance notice of proposed rulemaking on April 13, 2023 and the public comment period was scheduled to end on June 12, 2023.Designating these PFAS as CERCLA hazardous substances would trigger new release reporting requirements and give EPA authority to require investigation and remediation of releases of these chemicals into the environment.
  • EPA EXTENDS INTERNAL DEADLINE TO FINALIZE RULE TO DESIGNATE PFAS UNDER CERCLA
    The EPA extended its internal deadline, previously August 2023, until February 2024 to finalize a rule to designate PFOA and PFOS as “hazardous substances” under CERCLA. The agency’s target for proposing the addition of PFAS to the Toxic Release Inventory, as required by the fiscal year 2020 National Defense Authorization Act, has also been delayed by seven months, while the target to finalize additional PFAS has been delayed by nine months. The delay also gives Congress more time to respond to the proposed designation and offer statutory protections for water and wastewater utilities and other passive receivers like solid waste disposal facilities and composting facilities.
  • HOUSE DEFENSE BILL PROPOSES NON-INCINERATION OPTIONS FOR PFAS DISPOSAL (June 13, 2023)
    A House defense bill released on June 12, 2023, calls for a study on non-incineration options for the disposal of PFAS, which likely will affect the structure of the Department of Defenses’ anticipated guidance expected to lift the congressionally-implemented moratorium on burning materials containing PFAS.
  • NINE (9) NEW PFAS TO BE LISTED (JUNE 22, 2023)
    The EPA issued a rule to amend the Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act section 313 list of reportable chemicals in 40 CFR 372.66 to include nine new non-CBI (confidential business information) PFAS pursuant to the Federal Year 2020 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), effective as of Jan. 1, 2023. Four PFAS are being added because they are no longer subject to CBI claims: Alcohols, C8-16, γ-ω-perfluoro, reaction products with 1,6-diisocyanatohexane, glycidol and stearyl alc. (2728655-42-1); Acetamide, N-[3-(dimethylamino)propyl]-, 2-[(γ-ω-perfluoro-C4-20-alkyl)thio] derivs. (2738952-61-7); Acetic acid, 2-[(γ-ω-perfluoro-C4-20-alkyl)thio] derivs., 2-hydroxypropyl esters (2744262-09-5); Acetamide, N-(2-aminoethyl)-, 2-[(γ-ω-perfluoro-C4-20-alkyl)thio] derivs., polymers with N1,N1-dimethyl-1,3-propanediamine, epichlorohydrin and ethylenediamine, oxidized (2742694-36-4). The remaining five new listings cover perfluorobutanoic acid (PFBA), its anion, and related salts.  Facilities releasing any of those chemicals from that date on will be required to report to the Toxics Release Inventory program by July 1, 2024.
  • HOUSE ARMED SERVICES COMMITTEE SUPPORTS PFAS BLOOD TESTS IN 2024 NATIONAL DEFENSE AUTHORIZATION ACT (NDAA) (June 22, 2023)
    The House Armed Services Committee amended a bill that will now mandate the Defense Department (DOD) to conduct blood tests on military service members to examine PFAS exposure.  It will publish its results to a national registry as part of 2024 NDAA, which will then be presented to the House floor.
  • SENATE EPW LEADERS INTRODUCE BILL NARROWING PFAS DEFINITION
    The Senate is floating draft legislation seeking to narrow the definition of PFAS, excluding polymer chemicals and requiring at least two fluorinated carbon atoms. The draft legislation does not include any liability exemptions for passive receivers and certain other sectors from CERLA liability – something water utilities, the waste sector, and others have pushed for because they can be held liable under CERCLA as passive receivers of PFAS who do not contribute to contamination. The bill also makes clear that EPA’s proposed drinking water rule should include all six substances EPA listed, rejecting pushes for EPA to group four additional PFAS beyond PFOA and PFOS.  The draft bill allows the EPA until September 2024 to finalize the drinking water rule.
  • EPA ANNOUNCES NEW FRAMEWORK TO PREVENT NEW PFAS FROM ENTERING THE MARKET (June 29, 2023)
    The EPA announced a framework for addressing new PFAS and new uses of PFAS. The framework outlines the EPA’s goal of extensively evaluating new PFAS and new uses of PFAS to ensure that they pose no harm to human health and the environment before commercial use. While the framework requires upfront testing for PFAS with a “greater than negligible” potential for release and environmental exposure, it will allow certain PFAS to be used when exposures and releases cannot be mitigated and when such use is critical for important sectors, such as semiconductors.

MAY

  • OMB Reviewing Rule to Subject PFAS to RCRA
    On May 8, 2023 the White House Office of Management and Budget began interagency review of proposed rules that would allow regulators to subject four PFAS to the Resource Conservation Recovery Action corrective program. The two proposed rules follow EPA Administrator Michael Regan’s commitment to New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham to write a rule to propose listing four PFAS as hazardous constituents, which would trigger “corrective action.” While the rules would subject PFAS to RCRA corrective action for the first time, they do not list these PFAS compounds as hazardous wastes, which would create cradle-to-grave liability where companies become liable for how their waste is handled from generation to disposal.
  • EPA Proposes Updated TSCA “Framework” Rule for New-Chemical Rules
    On May 16, 2023, the EPA proposed an update to the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) “framework” for reviews of new chemicals, adding a range of data requirements for industry submissions. The rule would also prohibit any chemical designated as PFAS or PBT from qualifying for the Low Volume Exemption (LVE) and low release and exposure exemption (LoREX), which reduce review timelines to 30 days.
  • Comment Period Ends May 30, 2023 for SDWA RULE
    The EPA rejected requests from the public to extend the comment period on its proposed Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA) national primary drinking water regulation to limit the amount of perfluorooctanoic acid PFOA, PFOS, PFNA, PFHxS, PFHpS) and PFDA in drinking water.  The comment period closed May 30, 2023.  The rule proposes a maximum contaminant level (MCL) for PFOA and PFOS at 4 parts per trillion.  The four other PFAS are regulated as a mixture using a novel “hazard index” approach that would establish an MCL at a unitless 1.0.
  • Proposed New Legislation Carving Out Certain Industries from PFAS Liability (May 22, 2023)
    Five bills were introduced to the Senate on May 3, 2023, proposing PFAS liability exemptions to CERCLA for agricultural operations, airports, entities that use fire-suppression systems which dispense an aqueous film forming foam (“AFFF”), solid waste facilities, and public and private drinking water systems and water treatment systems.
  • EPA sends new PFAS reporting rule to OMB
    The EPA missed the statutory deadline of January 1, 2023 to promulgate its statutorily-mandated data-gathering rule for PFAS manufacturing and importing and recently sent the rule to the White House Office of Management and Budget after the EPA raised its cost estimate from $10.8 million to $875 million. The increase is based largely on new calculations of burdens on small companies that make or import finished articles and will have to scrutinize their supply chains for PFAS.  The EPA is drafting its rule under a policy rider in the fiscal year 2020 National Defense Authorization Act, which says EPA must enact a rule requiring “each person” who manufactured or imported PFAS after Jan. 1, 2011, to key data on use of the chemicals and possible exposures to workers, the general public and the environment, using data-gathering authorities in the Toxic Substances Control Act.

APRIL

  • EPA Announces Intention to Create CERCLA Enforcement Discretion Policy for Certain PFAS
    The EPA announced its intention to draft a formal enforcement discretion policy that would shield certain PFAS polluters from federal enforcement actions under CERCLA. If adopted, the policy would focus federal enforcement actions under CERCLA on PFAS manufacturers, federal facilities, and other entities who presently or historically caused or contributed to significant levels of PFAS contamination in the environment. The EPA announced categories of regulated entities that it would not pursue under the proposed policy, including publicly owned and operated water utilities, and publicly owned and operated municipal solid waste landfills.
  • EPA Issues Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking to Inform Potential Future CERCLA Regulations
    On April 12, 2023, the EPA issued an Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking asking for public input regarding potential future hazardous substance designations of PFAS under CERCLA. The notice requests public information and input regarding seven PFAS that the EPA is considering for potential designation as hazardous substances under CERCLA: PFBS, PFHxS, PFNA, HFPO-DA (also known as “GenX”), PFBA, PFHxA, and PFDA. This request follows EPA’s September 2022 proposed rule to designate two PFAS – PFOA and PFOS, and their salts and structural isomers – as hazardous substances under CERCLA.
  • EPA Issues Administrative Compliance Order Addressing PFAS Discharges at Washington Works Facility (Parkersburg, W. Va.)
    On April 26, 2023, the EPA issued an administrative compliance order on consent (AOC) to Chemours Company, requiring the company to take corrective measures to address alleged PFAS pollution in stormwater and effluent discharges from their Washington Works facility near Parkersburg, WV. The order is the first-ever EPA Clean Water Act enforcement action issued for PFAS discharges. The order states that Chemours exceeded permit effluent limits for PFOA and HFPO Dimer Acid on various dates from September 2018 through March 2023, and that Chemours failed to properly operate and maintain all facilities and systems required for permit compliance.  To come into compliance, Chemours must implement an EPA-approved sampling plan, analyze the presence of PFAS in stormwater and effluent discharges from the facility, and submit and implement a plan to minimize the discharge of PFAS to ensure compliance with effluent limits.

MARCH

  • EPA Announces Proposed National Primary Drinking Water Regulation for Six PFAS
    The EPA proposed National Primary Drinking Water Regulations (NPDWR) that would establish legally enforceable maximum contaminant levels for six PFAS in drinking water: PFOA, PFOS, PFNA, HFPO-DA, PFHxS, and PFBS. This is the first NPDWR proposal for any PFAS. The EPA is also proposing to impose strict limits on PFOA and PFOS at 4 parts per trillion, a level more stringent than any state has set. The EPA would regulate the four remaining PFAS as a mixture using a novel “hazard index” approach.
    The proposed rule is the first federally enforceable drinking-water regulation to address any substances from the class of thousands of PFAS. The EPA is also proposing health-based, non-enforceable maximum contaminant level goals for these six PFAS.
  • Proposed National Primary Drinking Water Regulation for PFAS May Cost More Than $1.2 Billion Annually
    The EPA provided its economic analysis for the proposed PFAS NPDWR. The EPA is estimating that its proposal setting drinking-water standards for six PFAS may cost more than $1.2 billion annually and affect as many as 6,300 drinking-water systems, though an agency analysis finds that quantifiable health benefits generally exceed those costs. While the EPA says the rule’s alleged health benefits will yield as much as $1.23 billion annually, the agency was unable to fully quantify a range of additional health benefits, both cancer and non-cancer benefits, that the agency believes are significant. The EPA acknowledges the costs may be higher than it estimates.
  • Office of Management & Budget Clears Plan for Public Input on Designating Additional PFAS as Hazardous Substances
    The White House Office of Management and Budget cleared the EPA’s plan to seek public input on whether the agency should consider designating additional PFAS, beyond PFOA and PFOS, as hazardous substances under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act.
    If the EPA moves ahead with a proposed rule to designate additional PFAS, and the proposed rule is ultimately adopted, the agency will be able to order cleanups and recover costs for a range of PFAS. The designation would also trigger contribution suits by responsible parties against other parties.
  • Senate Proposes Bill to Coordinate PFAS Research and Development
    The U.S. Senate introduced a bipartisan bill, S. 82, to mandate the addition of the Consumer Product Safety Commission on a White House–led interagency work group that coordinates federally funded PFAS research and development. The purpose of the bill is to ensure future federal efforts on PFAS are viewed through a “product safety lens.” The interagency panel was formed under the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2021 to improve coordination among federal agencies to address PFAS contamination.

FEBRUARY

  • EPA Announces $2 Billion to Address Emerging Contaminants
    The EPA announced the availability of $2 billion from President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law to address emerging contaminants, including PFAS, in drinking water across the country. The investment is allocated to states and territories and will be made available to communities as grants through the EPA’s Emerging Contaminants in Small or Disadvantaged Communities grant program.

JANUARY

  • EPA Adds Nine More PFAS to Toxic Release Inventory
    The EPA has automatically added nine more PFAS chemicals to its Toxic Release Inventory reporting requirements after lifting confidential business restrictions on four of them and finalizing a toxicity value for five other substances. Facilities releasing the nine additional PFAS are now mandated to start reporting 2023 releases, with reporting forms due July 1, 2024. With these additions, there are now over 180 PFAS chemicals that regulated entities must report under the Toxic Release Inventory.
  • EPA Proposes Significant New Use Rule on Inactive PFAS
    The EPA proposed a significant new use rule under the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) that would require companies to file new applications with the agency before manufacturing, processing, or importing an estimated 300 PFAS listed as “inactive” on the TSCA inventory of chemicals in commerce. Without this proposed rule, companies could resume uses of these PFAS absent notification to and review by the EPA.
  • On January 19, 2023, the EPA issued a notice soliciting public comments on its National Enforcement and Compliance Initiatives (NECI) for Fiscal Years 2024-2027, including a new NECI to address PFAS contamination that focuses on implementing the commitments to action made in EPA’s 2021-2024 PFAS Strategic Roadmap.  This new PFAS NECI would focus on identifying the extent of PFAS exposures that pose a threat to human health and the environment and pursuing responsible parties for those exposures. EPA aims to develop a CERCLA enforcement discretion and contribution protection settlement policy for PFAS contamination, and intends to focus enforcement efforts on PFAS manufacturers and federal facilities that could be significant sources of contamination.
  • On December 5, 2022, the EPA proposed a rule aimed at enhancing reporting of PFAS data to the Toxics Release Inventory (TRI). Facilities that manufacture, process, or otherwise use TRI-listed chemicals above certain quantities must report TRI data to the EPA annually. Under the proposed rule, facilities that make or use TRI-listed PFAS will no longer be able to rely upon the de minimis exemption, which allowed TRI-reporting facilities to disregard certain minimal concentrations of chemicals in mixtures or trade name products (below 1% concentration for each TRI-listed PFAS, except for PFOA for which concentration is set at 0.1%). The proposed rule would list PFAS as “chemicals of special concern,” making them ineligible for the de minimis exemption. TRI-reporting facilities would thus be required to report on PFAS regardless of their concentration in products.
  • In August 2022, the EPA issued a proposal to designate PFOA and PFOS as hazardous substances under CERCLA. The proposed rulemaking would require entities to immediately report releases of PFOA and PFOS to the National Response Center, state or Tribal emergency response commission, and the local or Tribal emergency planning committee. However, entities would not be required to report past releases of PFOA or PFOS. 
  • June 6, 2022, EPA issued its first test order under EPA’s National PFAS Testing Strategy, a key component of the Agency’s PFAS Strategic Roadmap. Test orders under the Toxic Substances Control Act are the first step under the National PFAS Testing Strategy. The information from these initial orders will provide the Agency with critical information on more than 2,000 similar PFAS that fall within these categories.
  • In May 2022, EPA added five PFAS (PFHxS, PFNA, PFOS, PFOA, and GenX) to a list of risk-based values for site cleanups. These values, known as Regional Screening Levels and Regional Remedial Management Levels, help EPA determine if response or remediation activities are needed. EPA’s action provides the Agency with critical tools needed for Superfund and other Agency programs to investigate contamination.
  • In April 2022, EPA announced three clean water actions: (1) EPA proposed the first Clean Water Act aquatic life criteria for PFAS, focusing on PFOA and PFOS. These draft recommendations address EPA’s contentions regarding the toxicological effects of PFOA and PFOS on freshwater aquatic organisms. (2) EPA issued a memo to use its Clean Water Act permitting authorities to reduce discharges of PFAS at the source and to obtain more monitoring information on potential sources of PFAS. (3) EPA published a new draft method to measure for Adsorbable Organic Fluorine in water samples. This new method, known as draft EPA method 1621, can broadly screen for the presence of chemical substances that contain carbon-fluorine bonds, including PFAS.
  • On March 3, 2022, the EPA published the Fourth Regulatory Determinations in Federal Register, including a determination to regulate PFOA and PFOS in drinking water. With this action, EPA intends to develop a proposed national primary drinking water regulation for PFOA and PFOS.
  • On January 10, 2022, EPA submitted a proposed rule for review to the White House Office of Management and Budget to designate PFOA and PFOS as hazardous substances under CERCLA.
  • On December 27, 2021, EPA published the final fifth Unregulated Contaminant Monitoring Rule, which will require sample collection for 29 PFAS between 2023 and 2025. Consistent with EPA’s PFAS Strategic Roadmap, UCMR 5 will provide new data to improve EPA’s understanding of the frequency that 29 PFAS (and lithium) are found in the nation’s drinking water systems and at what levels.
  • On October 26, 2021, the EPA announced that it would initiate a rulemaking process to propose adding PFOA, PFOS, PFBS, and GenX as RCRA Hazardous Constituents. The addition of these PFAS substances as RCRA Hazardous Constituents is a necessary component of a hazardous waste listing determination under RCRA.
  • On October 18, 2021, EPA Administrator Michael S. Regan announced the PFAS Strategic Roadmap.  This document provides timelines for EPA actions agency-wide regarding PFAS, and sets forth “three central directives”: Research, Restrict, Remediate.  These directives intimate increased regulation of PFAS at the Federal level, including product and use restrictions, as well as the deployment of resources to treat and remediate PFAS in the environment.
  • On July 21, 2021, The PFAS Action Act of 2021 passed the lower chamber of the House with bipartisan support, 241-183. The legislation would require EPA to establish national drinking water standards for PFAS.
  • On July 12, 2021, EPA included PFAS in the draft of its latest list of water contaminants, which could lead to potential regulation of PFAS under the Safe Drinking Water Act.
  • On June 10, 2021, the EPA withdrew a compliance guide issued in January 2021 that weakened the Significant New Use Rule (SNUR) issued in July 2020, which among other things, prohibits companies from importing certain long-chain PFAS as part of a “surface coating” on articles without prior EPA review and approval. The compliance guidance limited what would be considered a “surface coating” subject to the SNUR, and after further review, the EPA determined that the guide inappropriately narrowed the scope and weakened the prohibitions included in the SNUR. Examples of articles that could contain the PFAS as part of a surface coating include, but are not limited to, automotive parts, carpet, furniture, and electronic components.
  • On May 19, 2021, the EPA announced an update to the Drinking Water Treatability Database with new references and treatment options for PFAS. The update is expected to help states, tribes, local governments, and water utilities make informed decisions to manage PFAS in their communities.
  • On April 27, 2021, the EPA called for the creation of a new “EPA Council on PFAS”. The Council is tasked with continuing the EPA’s work to understand potential risks caused by PFAS.
  • On April 8, 2021, the EPA released an updated toxicity assessment for PFBS, a member of the larger group of PFAS. The assessment helps the EPA, federal agencies, states, tribes, and local communities determine if and when it is necessary to take action to address potential health risks associated with human exposures to PFBS.
  • On February 20, 2020, EPA released an updated list of 172 PFAS chemicals subject to Toxics Release Inventory reporting as required by the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2020.
  • On February 20, 2020, EPA issued a supplemental proposal to ensure that new uses of certain persistent long-chain PFAS chemicals in surface coatings cannot be manufactured or imported into the United States without notification and review under the Toxic Substances Control Act (“TSCA”).
  • On September 25, 2019, EPA issued an advanced notice of proposed rulemaking that would allow the public to provide input on adding PFAS to the Toxics Release Inventory toxic chemical list.

In addition, several bills have been proposed in Congress requiring federal agencies to establish maximum contaminant levels for PFAS under the Safe Drinking Water Act, designate certain PFAS as hazardous substances under CERCLA, or impose further restrictions under other federal statutes such as TSCA and the Clean Water Act.