At the start of 2022, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) submitted a proposed rule that would designate PFOA and PFOS—the two most studied and investigated compounds within the group of chemicals known as per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS)—as “hazardous substances” under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act (CERCLA). While this new designation may impact actions at current CERCLA sites, the rule could have many ripple effects, as other regulatory programs at the state level use the federal definition of hazardous substances in their programs.
The proposed designation of PFOA and PFOS as hazardous substances could result in closed sites being reopened for additional investigation and potential remediation while requiring additional investigation at sites currently being investigated or remediated.
In addition, if finalized, the new rule will broaden the scope of Phase I environmental assessments to include the potential release of PFOA and PFOS. It will also require reporting releases of these chemicals, such as the use of PFAS-containing fire-fighting foam.
What happens next?
Several steps remain in the rulemaking process, including a public-comment period yet to begin. According to the EPA’s PFAS Strategic Roadmap, the final rule is expected to be finalized in the summer of 2023.
Barr is currently helping clients with a wide variety of PFAS-related projects in states where PFOA and PFOS have already been listed as hazardous substances. To discuss the implications of the proposed rule for your site or business, contact us.
About the author
Casy Fath has a decade of experience with environmental site investigation and remediation involving the monitoring, evaluation, and remediation of groundwater sites. He has expertise with all phases of Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) and Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA) projects, including cost estimates, planning, data collection, data analysis, and report preparation.