EPA has released its ambitious and wide-ranging plan for addressing the ubiquitous "forever" chemicals known collectively as PFAS. The PFAS Road Map, developed by an EPA task force co-chaired by New England's own Acting Regional Administrator, Deb Szaro, calls for ultimate regulation of PFAS by pretty much every division of EPA.
EPA's wide-ranging plan is going to take longer to implement than many might have hoped.
EPA projects that the summer of 2023 is the earliest any of the hundreds of chemicals known as PFAS will be regulated as hazardous substances under CERCLA, the Federal Superfund Statute.
And EPA projects that the earliest there will be any Federal Drinking Water Standards for any PFAS is the fall of 2023.
I don't mean to suggest EPA can move faster than it suggests in its PFAS road map. In fact, at the very beginning of EPA's plan, the Agency makes plain that there are "significant gaps" in the science necessary to make reasoned regulatory decisions about many PFAS. EPA should be commended for not shooting before aiming.
But, in the meantime, for the next two years we will continue to live in a virtual vacuum of Federal regulation of PFAS with other states likely joining the dozen or so states that have already developed standards of their own. That will mean more confusion and more litigation.
And, of course, as one commenter points out in this Inside EPA article, it remains to be seen whether Congress will provide the mind-numbing funding necessary to implement this ambitious plan.
Key among the actions EPA plans to take under its new strategic plan formal proposal of SDWA standards for perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) and perfluorooctanesulfonic acid (PFOS) by the fall of 2022, with final action on the standards to follow by fall 2023. That schedule is faster than the agency’s statutory deadline, which calls for proposing the standards by March 3, 2023, and finalizing them by Sept. 3, 2024. . . . . Additionally, the roadmap calls for designating PFOA and PFOS as hazardous substances under CERCLA, with a proposal expected in the spring of 2022 and a final rule in the summer of 2023.