PFAS Federal, State Policy Update
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Kathryn Clay
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PFAS Federal, State Policy Update

EPA Announces New Water Health Advisories for PFAS; Several States Pass PFAS Legislation

On June 15 the EPA announced updated water health advisories for two PFAS (PFOA and PFOS) and created water health advisories for two other PFAS (GenX chemicals and PFBS). While these advisories are not enforceable, many states use these health advisories as the basis for enforceable state-level drinking water standards. All four of these chemicals are currently or have previously been used in AFFF mixtures. 

The water health advisories for PFOA and PFOS will be lowered to 0.004 and 0.02 parts per trillion (ppt), respectively. The previous advisory was 70 ppt for these two chemicals combined. The health advisories for GenX chemicals and PFBS will be 10 ppt and 2,000 ppt, respectively. The PFOA and PFOS advisory levels are interim (and can be changed if new data is provided to the Science Advisory Board), while the GenX chemicals and PFBS levels are final.

The White House’s fact sheet for this announcement mentioned that PFOA and PFOS will be designated as “hazardous substances” under the Superfund program in “the coming weeks”. It is likely that these updated water health advisories will be used to support this designation.

The Department of Defense has also been making progress in addressing PFAS and took one step closer to eliminating PFAS-based firefighting foam by publishing a draft Military Specification (MILSPEC) for fluorine-free firefighting foam on May 31. If new foams are developed that meet the required properties and performance as specified, they will be able to be used for land-based operations when mixed with freshwater. It is likely these specifications will also be adopted by the FAA. The review period for the draft specification ended on June 30.

At the state level, several new PFAS laws were passed that could be pertinent to ILTA members:

  • Colorado (House Bill 22-1345) –  Beginning January 1, 2024, bans the release of AFFF into the environment, places requirements for containment and storage of AFFF and AFFF-contaminated materials, and requires reporting of AFFF releases
  • Illinois (House Bill 4818) – Bans incineration of PFAS, effective immediately
  • Hawaii (House Bill 1644) – Beginning January 1, 2024, bans discharge of AFFF for testing or training, unless the use is necessary to suppress a petroleum fire. Also bans the manufacture, sale, and distribution of AFFF unless required by federal law or regulations.

More information on these laws and other state-level legislation can be found in the ILTA PFAS legislation tracker.

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