New Wastewater Regulations Proposed for PFAS

On September 8, 2021, the EPA released Preliminary Effluent Guidelines Program Plan 15, which represents the first time the agency has committed to limiting PFAS in wastewater discharges. The goal of the regulation is to protect both drinking water supplies and our recreational and aquatic ecosystems from harmful PFAS chemicals. As part of this plan, EPA has determined that revised effluent limitations guidelines (ELGs) and pretreatment standards are warranted for the following industrial categories:

  • Organic Chemicals, Plastics, and Synthetic Fibers category to address PFAS discharges from facilities manufacturing PFAS
  • Metal Finishing category to address PFAS discharges from chromium electroplating facilities
  • Meat and Poultry Products category to address nutrient discharges

Current ELGs include over 59 industrial categories that apply to nearly 170,000 facilities that discharge wastewater to either surface water bodies or municipal treatment plants. There are currently no federal regulatory standards for PFAS discharges by the industries outlined in this proposed program plan; however, using available sampling data, EPA has verified that PFAS are present in wastewater discharges from many facilities falling in the categories above.

Establishing these regulatory standards could take years; however, this announcement is the first step and part of EPA’s larger plan to ultimately protect drinking water from PFAS contamination. These regulations could also affect wastewater treatment facilities across the US. The EPA is currently accepting comments on this proposal until October 14, 2021.

To read more about the proposed regulation you can visit the EPA’s website, read the Program Plan 15 Fact Sheet, or dive into the entire 41 page plan.

Apex Associated Press (Apex AP) represents contributions from various authors within the Apex professional community.

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