The family of chemicals known as per- and polyfluorinated alkyl substances, also known as PFAS and PFOA, continues to be a hot topic of growing concern at the state and federal level. The substances have been used in a variety of manufacturing industries around the globe, including food packaging and commercial household products. There is some evidence that exposure to PFAS can lead to adverse human health effects. CASA has kept a watchful eye on developments related to PFAS over the last year.
The U.S. Senate recently amended the U.S. National Defense Authorization (Act S. 1790) to address PFAS/PFOA. These amendments incorporate provisions of several federal bills introduced over the last few months, and would mandate that the United States Environmental Protection Agency set a national drinking water regulation for PFOA and PFAS within two years of enactment among other things. The California Legislature also saw a suite of bills introduced this year related to the chemicals, though only AB 756 (C. Garcia) is still moving through the legislative process. That bill would authorize the State Water Board to order a public water system to monitor for PFAS and PFOA in accordance with conditions set by the board.
This past spring, the EPA released its PFAS Action Plan that provides short- and long-term strategies to address concerns. On the state side, the State Water Board announced a broad, three-phase investigative plan to identify locations where PFAS are present. Phase Three of that plan will focus on wastewater treatment and pre-treatment plants, and is expected to begin this fall.
CASA has been actively tracking all of these developments as they pertain to potential impacts to wastewater agencies. In order to better understand this emerging issue, CASA also contributed to organizations for a national effort to look at PFAS issues related to biosolids, residuals management and wastewater. Finally, we continue to track Water Board efforts to examine PFAS and potentially modify notification and response levels for these chemicals.