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EPA releases the second annual report on the progress of PFAS control



Recently, the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released its second annual report on the progress of perfluoroalkyl or perfluoroalkyl compound (PFAS) control. The report emphasizes the significant achievements made by the US EPA official under its PFAS strategic roadmap and outlines the main achievements in controlling PFAS in three aspects (limitation, remediation, and research) in 2023.

Regulatory measures for 2023

01 The use of PFAS is safer

The EPA has finally established new rules for PFAS reporting, released a framework for reviewing PFAS to ensure the safest possible use of PFAS, and proposed to abolish exemptions for new PFAS and restrict certain old PFAS.

02 Hold polluters accountable

The EPA has proposed listing perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) and perfluorooctanesulfonic acid (PFOS) as hazardous substances under the US Superfund Act CERCLA, and the final rules are expected to be released in early 2024. This measure will enable the agency to enhance the transparency of PFAS emissions, help ensure that polluters pay for treatment and cleanup costs, and help communities facing severe pollution quickly obtain effective protection. In the past year, the EPA has also taken important measures to prevent PFAS polluters, including making PFAS a key focus of EPA enforcement and compliance from 2024 to 2027.

03 Protecting Drinking Water Safety

The EPA proposed the first national drinking water standard for six PFAS in March 2023. Once finalized, this rule will save thousands of lives and prevent tens of thousands of avoidable diseases. The EPA is expected to complete this rule by early 2024.

In addition, in order to better understand the location of PFAS and how people come into contact with PFAS, the EPA has initiated nationwide monitoring of 29 types of PFAS in over 10000 public water supply systems under Article 5 of the Unregulated Pollutant Monitoring Regulations. The monitoring results will be publicly released on the website of the Environmental Protection Bureau every quarter.

04 Investment in water source infrastructure projects

Many communities need to install new infrastructure and treatment technologies to address PFAS issues in drinking water and wastewater. Through the Two Party Infrastructure Act (BIL), the EPA provides $10 billion specifically for the removal of PFAS and other emerging pollutants, more than half of which will be used for vulnerable and underserved communities. In 2023, the EPA allocated nearly $1 billion through the BIL State Revolving Fund Emerging Pollutant Program and announced the first $2 billion grant funding to states, tribes, and regions through a new small or vulnerable community emerging pollutant grant program.

05 Close the emission sources of industrial polluters

The US Environmental Protection Agency has taken several measures to utilize the licensing and regulatory powers of the Clean Water Act to reduce PFAS pollution in water bodies, including specific regulations restricting PFAS emissions from PFAS manufacturers, metal surface treatment plants, and landfills.

06 Incorporate fair environmental justice into action

The EPA has been committed to ensuring that all communities have fair access to solutions to advance Executive Order 14096 and integrate the recommendations of the National Advisory Committee on Environmental Justice.

07 Promoting Scientific Development

The EPA continues to research and develop the scientific foundation for establishing PFAS to fill gaps in understanding PFAS, identify additional PFAS that may pose risks to human health and ecology at exposure levels, and develop methods for testing, measuring, removing, and destroying them.

08 Listen to community opinions

The EPA held listening meetings with community members affected by PFAS in each of its 10 regions and specifically designed meetings for tribal partners. The feedback shared during these meetings will be coordinated with the recommendations of the EPA National Environmental Justice Advisory Committee and the Local Government Advisory Committee, providing information for the overall response and helping to ensure that communities with environmental justice issues have fair access to information and solutions.

2024 EPA's Key Actions on PFAS Substances

     The official US EPA will continue its PFAS control for 2023 through several key actions in 2024, including:

👉 Finalize the national drinking water standards for several PFAS;

👉 Take final action to list certain PFAS as hazardous substances under CERCLA;

👉 Propose wastewater limitation guidelines for PFAS manufacturers;

👉 Release guidelines on the destruction and disposal of PFAS;

👉 Finalize the new method for monitoring PFAS in various media;

👉 Propose rules to designate certain PFAS as hazardous components under the Resource Conservation and Recycling Act.

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