On Wednesday, March 29, 2023, the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) published, in the Federal Register, a Proposed PFAS National Primary Drinking Water Regulation (NPDWR) (88 FR 18638). The proposal includes Maximum Contaminant Level Goals (MCLGs) and Maximum Contaminant Levels (MCLs) for six per- and poly-fluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) found in drinking water. Key elements of the rulemaking are as follows:
- Compliance for both MCLs and the HI MCL is based on a running annual average of compliance samples.
- Initial monitoring (frequency dependent on type of system, population served, and source of raw water) must be completed within three years of the publication date of the final rule. The proposal includes provisions for grandfathering monitoring data from the Unregulated Contaminants Monitoring Rule 5 (UCMR5) to satisfy initial monitoring.
- Compliance monitoring (frequency dependent on population served and results from initial monitoring) would officially commence starting with the first monitoring period after the effective date of the rule (i.e. three years after the publication date of the final rule).
- Trigger levels are proposed to establish reduced compliance monitoring frequency for averages of PFOA and PFOS of <1.3 ppt and HI <0.33. If future averages meet or exceed the trigger levels, initial compliance monitoring frequencies must be restored.
- Approved analytical methods for the PFAS chemicals in this rulemaking are Method 533 and Method 537.1, with Practical Quantitation Levels (PQLs) of 4.0 ppt for PFOA and PFOS, 5.0 ppt for HFPO-DA, 3.0 ppt for PFHxS, 4.0 ppt for PFNA, and 3.0 ppt for PFBS.
- The proposed rule identifies granular activated carbon (GAC) and Ion Exchange (IX) as Best Available Technologies for removing PFAS chemicals from water. Point-of-Use (POU) treatment is not considered adequate, at this time, to comply with proposed MCLs.
- Violations of the MCLs require Tier 2 notifications (PN within 30 days of the public water system becoming aware of the violation, and including information in future Consumer Confidence Reports).
- PLEASE NOTE that this is a proposed rule and EPA is still soliciting comments from the public until May 30, 2023. All areas are open for comment, but some specific areas EPA is requesting comment include:
- Maximum Contaminant Level Goals
- Maximum Contaminant Levels (e.g. PFOA/PFOS MCL of 4.0 ppt and HI of 1.0; PFOA/PFOS MCL 4.0 ppt with no HI, PFOA/PFOS MCLs of 5.0 ppt or 10 ppt with no HI)
- Monitoring and Compliance Requirements (e.g. should EPA allow use of UCMR5 monitoring results for compliance with initial monitoring requirements; Trigger Levels)
- Analytical Methods (e.g. PQLs, laboratory capacity)
- Designation of violations of proposed MCLs as Tier 2
- Treatment Technologies
- Economic Analysis
The public is encouraged to review the rule at Per- and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances (PFAS) | US EPA, scrolling down to Supporting Materials. Comments may be submitted to the Federal eRulemaking Portal: https://www.regulations.gov identified by Docket ID No. EPA-HQ-OW-2022-0114 (more easily accessed via the link included in the e-version of the Federal Register Notice (88 FR 18638) by May 30, 2023.