Bloomberg Environment reports the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania will set a drinking water limit for two of the thousands of "forever chemicals" known as PFAS joining several other states that have already set limits of their own.
In the meantime, after four years of what it described as supporting the states during the Trump Administration, EPA is working as fast as it can to set a limit of its own under the Federal Safe Drinking Water Act. (see also https://insights.mintz.com/post/102h9t9/as-the-pfas-panic-continues-epa-tries-to-keep-up-with-the-states, November 2, 2021)
EPA's PFAS Road Map tells us that despite the Herculean EPA effort now underway we shouldn't expect to see a Federal PFAS drinking water standard earlier than the fall of 2023, two years from now.
One is left to wonder how many more states will set standards of their own in the two years between now and then, especially now that the Federal Government will fund 10 billion dollars worth of investigations and treatment in the States.
One more thing -- at first blush there seems to be a wild variation in the standards being set by the states from a proposed standard of a part per quadrillion for PFOS in California to the to be proposed standard of 18 parts per trillion for the same PFAS in Pennsylvania to the currently unenforceable EPA advisory of 70 parts per trillion. However, all of these numbers are mind-numbingly low. One part per trillion is one thousand times smaller than one part per billion. That means that if you look for PFAS in drinking water, and you find them, you're very unlikely to find them in concentrations lower than any of the standards that the states are setting. And 10 billion dollars to address all of those PFAS may end up seeming like a drop in the bucket.
Pennsylvania aims to protect public health by proposing two limits for “forever chemicals” in drinking water that are significantly lower than the federal health advisory, the state’s Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) announced Tuesday. The state early next year will seek public comment on a rule proposing maximum contaminant levels (MCLs) of 14 parts per trillion (ppt) perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) and 18 ppt for perfluorooctane sulfonic acid (PFOS). That compares to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s health advisory of 70 ppt for either chemical or a combination of both.