PFAS Action Plan
Photo: Matt Rourke - AP
EPA Issues PFAS Cleanup Guidance for Federal Programs
The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued interim recommendations for federal cleanup programs to use when addressing groundwater contaminated with Perfluorooctanoic Acid (PFOA) and Perfluorooctanesulfonate (PFOS). This action, under EPA’s PFAS Action Plan, is meant to provide clear and consistent guidance for federal cleanup programs such as The Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA) and the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA).
PFOA and PFOS are the most studied Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) chemicals and have been voluntarily phased out by industry, though they are still persistent in the environment.
According to EPA's news release, EPA will prioritize public health impacts by focusing on groundwater that is a current or potential source of drinking water. The guidance recommends:
- Using a screening level of 40 parts per trillion (ppt) to determine if PFOA and/or PFOS is present at a site and may warrant further attention.
- Screening levels are risk-based values that are used to determine if levels of contamination may warrant further investigation at a site.
- Using EPA’s PFOA and PFOS Lifetime Drinking Water Health Advisory level of 70 ppt as the preliminary remediation goal (PRG) for contaminated groundwater that is a current or potential source of drinking water, where no state or tribal MCL or other applicable or relevant and appropriate requirements (ARARs) are available or sufficiently protective.
- PRGs are generally initial targets for cleanup, which may be adjusted on a site-specific basis as more information becomes available.