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1) Mar 29 -- The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is committed to using and advancing the best available science to tackle per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) pollution, protect public health, and harmonize policies that strengthen public health protections with infrastructure funding to help communities, especially disadvantaged communities, deliver safe drinking water.

In March 2021, EPA issued a final regulatory determination to regulate perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) and perfluorooctane sulfonic acid (PFOS) as contaminants under Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA). In this notice, EPA is issuing a preliminary regulatory determination to regulate perfluorohexane sulfonic acid (PFHxS), hexafluoropropylene oxide dimer acid (HFPO-DA) and its ammonium salt (also known as a GenX chemicals), perfluorononanoic acid (PFNA), and perfluorobutane sulfonic acid (PFBS), and mixtures of these PFAS as contaminants under SDWA. Through this action, EPA is also proposing a National Primary Drinking Water Regulation (NPDWR) and health-based Maximum Contaminant Level Goals (MCLG) for these four PFAS and their mixtures as well as for PFOA and PFOS.

EPA is proposing to set the health-based value, the MCLG, for PFOA and PFOS at zero. Considering feasibility, including currently available analytical methods to measure and treat these chemicals in drinking water, EPA is proposing individual MCLs of 4.0 nanograms per liter (ng/L) or parts per trillion (ppt) for PFOA and PFOS. EPA is proposing to use a Hazard Index (HI) approach to protecting public health from mixtures of PFHxS, HFPO-DA and its ammonium salt, PFNA, and PFBS because of their known and additive toxic effects and occurrence and likely co-occurrence in drinking water. EPA is proposing an HI of 1.0 as the MCLGs for these four PFAS and any mixture containing one or more of them because it represents a level at which no known or anticipated adverse effects on the health of persons is expected to occur and which allows for an adequate margin of safety. EPA has determined it is also feasible to set the MCLs for these four PFAS and for a mixture containing one or more of PFHxS, HFPO-DA and its ammonium salt, PFNA, PFBS as an HI of unitless 1.0.

The Agency is requesting comment on this action, including this proposed NPDWR and MCLGs, and have identified specific areas where public input will be helpful for EPA in developing the final rule. In addition to seeking written input, the EPA will be holding a public hearing on May 4, 2023. Comments must be received on or before May 30, 2023. Comments on the information collection provisions submitted to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) under the Paperwork Reduction Act (PRA) are best assured of consideration by OMB if OMB receives a copy of your comments on or before April 28, 2023. Public hearing: EPA will hold a virtual public hearing on May 4, 2023, at https://www.epa.gov/​sdwa/​and-polyfluoroalkyl-substances-pfas.

FRN: https://www.federalregister.gov/d/2023-05471 [117 pages]
 
2) Mar 14 -- Biden-Harris Administration Proposes First-Ever National Standard to Protect Communities from PFAS in Drinking Water [press release]

Today, the Biden-Harris Administration announced it is proposing the first-ever national drinking water standard for six per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) in the latest action under President Biden’s plan to combat PFAS pollution and Administrator Regan’s PFAS Strategic Roadmap. Through this action, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is taking a major step to protect public health from PFAS pollution, leveraging the latest science and complementing state efforts to limit PFAS by proposing to establish legally enforceable levels for six PFAS known to occur in drinking water.

This proposal builds on other key milestones to combat PFAS, including EPA’s proposal to designate two PFAS as CERCLA hazardous substances; enhancing data on PFAS under EPA’s National PFAS Testing Strategy and through nationwide sampling for 29 PFAS in public drinking water systems; using EPA’s Clean Water Act permitting and regulatory programs to reduce PFAS pollution in the environment from industry; and initiating the distribution of $10 billion in funding to address emerging contaminants under the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL). . . .
 
The proposal, if finalized, would regulate PFOA and PFOS as individual contaminants, and will regulate four other PFAS – PFNA, PFHxS, PFBS, and GenX Chemicals – as a mixture.

-- PFOA and PFOS: EPA is proposing to regulate PFOA and PFOS at a level they can be reliably measured at 4 parts per trillion.
-- PFNA, PFHxS, PFBS, and GenX Chemicals: EPA is also proposing a regulation to limit any mixture containing one or more of PFNA, PFHxS, PFBS, and/or GenX Chemicals. For these PFAS, water systems would use an established approach called a hazard index calculation, defined in the proposed rule, to determine if the combined levels of these PFAS pose a potential risk.

If finalized, the proposed regulation will require public water systems to monitor for these chemicals. It will also require systems to notify the public and reduce PFAS contamination if levels exceed the proposed regulatory standards. EPA anticipates that if fully implemented, the rule will, over time, prevent thousands of deaths and reduce tens of thousands of serious PFAS-attributable illnesses. This action establishes nationwide protection from PFAS pollution for all people, including environmental justice communities.
 
EPA requests input on the proposal from all stakeholders, including the public, water system managers, and public health professionals. Comments may be submitted through the public docket, identified by Docket ID No. EPA-HQ-OW-2022-0114, at www.regulations.gov.
 
PFAS are a category of manufactured chemicals that can cause serious health problems, including cancer, if people are exposed to them over a long period of time. Since EPA Administrator Michael S. Regan announced the Agency’s PFAS Strategic Roadmap in October 2021, EPA has continued to implement a whole-of-agency approach by advancing science and following the law to safeguard public health, protect the environment, and hold polluters accountable. The actions described in the PFAS Roadmap each represent important and meaningful steps to safeguard communities from PFAS contamination. Cumulatively, these actions will build upon one another and lead to more enduring and protective solutions. In November 2022, EPA released “A Year of Progress Under EPA’s PFAS Strategic Roadmap,” which underscores key actions taken by the agency during the first year of implementing the PFAS Roadmap.

EPA will continue to work with federal, state, territorial, and Tribal governments and drinking water systems to address PFAS in drinking water and implement solutions to reduce human health risks. And EPA is committed to taking broader actions to help reduce Americans’ exposure to PFAS, including:

-- Monitoring thousands of drinking water systems across the country for dozens of PFAS, beginning this year;
-- Taking final action on a proposal to designate two PFAS as “hazardous substances” to help hold polluters accountable;
-- Restricting PFAS discharges to our waterways by strengthening Clean Water Act standards;
-- Finalizing chemical data and safety rules that will increase our knowledge about PFAS, allow us to act faster and more strategically, and restrict legacy PFAS from reentering production; and
-- Considering public comments submitted on today’s proposed rule toward taking final action on nationwide PFAS drinking water standards.

EPA press release: https://www.epa.gov/newsreleases/biden-harris-administration-proposes-first-ever-national-standard-protect-communities    
WH press release: https://www.whitehouse.gov/briefing-room/statements-releases/2023/03/14/fact-sheet-biden-harris-administration-takes-new-action-to-protect-communities-from-pfas-pollution/

3) Per- and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances (PFAS): Proposed PFAS National Primary Drinking Water Regulation

On March 14, 2023, EPA announced the proposed National Primary Drinking Water Regulation (NPDWR) for six PFAS including perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA), perfluorooctane sulfonic acid (PFOS), perfluorononanoic acid (PFNA), hexafluoropropylene oxide dimer acid (HFPO-DA, commonly known as GenX Chemicals), perfluorohexane sulfonic acid (PFHxS), and perfluorobutane sulfonic acid (PFBS). The proposed PFAS NPDWR does not require any actions until it is finalized. EPA anticipates finalizing the regulation by the end of 2023. EPA expects that if fully implemented, the rule will prevent thousands of deaths and reduce tens of thousands of serious PFAS-attributable illnesses.

EPA is requesting public comment on the proposed regulation. The public comment period will open following the proposed rule publishing in the Federal Register. Public comments can be provided at that time at www.regulations.gov under Docket ID: EPA-HQ-OW-2022-0114.

EPA will be holding two informational webinars about the proposed PFAS NDPWR on March 16, 2023, and March 29, 2023. The webinars will be similar, with each intended for specific audiences. Registration is required to attend. The webinar recordings and presentation materials will be made available following the webinars at this website.

EPA will also be holding a public hearing on May 4, 2023, where members of the public can register to attend and provide verbal comments to EPA on the rule proposal. Registration is required to attend and the last day to register to speak at the hearing is April 28, 2023. For questions related to the public hearing, contact PFASNPDWR@epa.gov.

EPA is proposing a National Primary Drinking Water Regulation (NPDWR) to establish legally enforceable levels, called Maximum Contaminant Levels (MCLs), for six PFAS in drinking water. PFOA and PFOS as individual contaminants, and PFHxS, PFNA, PFBS, and HFPO-DA (commonly referred to as GenX Chemicals) as a PFAS mixture. EPA is also proposing health-based, non-enforceable Maximum Contaminant Level Goals (MCLGs) for these six PFAS.  
 
The proposed rule would also require public water systems to:

-- Monitor for these PFAS
-- Notify the public of the levels of these PFAS
-- Reduce the levels of these PFAS in drinking water if they exceed the proposed standards.
 
Regulation and technical documentation: https://www.epa.gov/sdwa/and-polyfluoroalkyl-substances-pfas

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