News Releases from Headquarters›Office of the Administrator (AO)
Administrator Wheeler, Congressman Hudson Highlight Trump Administration Action on PFAS at Roundtable in Fayetteville, N.C.
Fayetteville, N.C. (August 25, 2020) — Today, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Andrew Wheeler attended a roundtable hosted by U.S. Congressman Richard Hudson (NC-08) to discuss the progress the nation is making to address per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS). During the event, Administrator Wheeler highlighted actions the agency is taking under the PFAS Action Plan—the most comprehensive cross-agency plan ever to address an emerging chemical of concern. Administrator Wheeler also touched on the partnerships that have been formed since the PFAS Action Plan was announced, which have led to additional collaboration, cutting edge research, information sharing and ultimately enhanced public health protections.
“In August 2018, EPA hosted a public listening session right here in Fayetteville to hear from the community about what the agency could do to help address PFAS,” said EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler. “In the two years since, we issued the first-ever PFAS Action Plan and have brought major support to state, tribal and local governments as they help us execute the plan. The partnership EPA has with North Carolina and other states is critical to overcoming PFAS-related challenges and we thank Congressman Hudson for inviting us to this event.”
“Protecting our community and combatting PFAS chemicals like GenX have remained a top priority. I first invited the EPA to Fayetteville in 2018 so they could hear directly from our community on this issue. Today’s discussion continues that dialogue and builds on our progress, including two amendments I recently secured that will directly help our fight against PFAS. I thank Administrator Wheeler for coming to our community and applaud the EPA’s new Innovative Ways to Destroy PFAS Challenge which will further our efforts,” said U.S. Congressman Richard Hudson (NC-08).
Attendees at the roundtable included Congressman Hudson, State Representative John Szoka (NC-45), Cumberland County Commission Chair Marshall Haircloth, Cumberland County Commissioner Mike Boose, Cumberland County Commissioner Jimmy Keefe, and Deputy Cumberland County manager Duane Holder.
At the event, Administrator Wheeler announced the new Innovative Ways to Destroy PFAS Challenge, which is a partnership between federal and states agencies seeking detailed plans for a non-incineration method to destroy PFAS in concentrated aqueous film forming foam (AFFF), a type of firefighting foam.
EPA continues to make progress under its PFAS Action Plan, published in 2019, to protect the environment and human health. To date, EPA has:
Highlighted Action: Drinking Water
- In December 2019, EPA published a new validated method to accurately test for 11 additional PFAS in drinking water.
- EPA’s new validated Method 533 focuses on “short chain” PFAS, those PFAS with carbon chain lengths of four to 12. Method 533 complements EPA Method 537.1 and the agency can now measure 29 chemicals.
- In February 2020, EPA proposed regulatory determinations for perfluorooctanesulfonic acid (PFOS) and perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) in drinking water. The comment period on these preliminary determinations closed on June 10, 2020. The agency will review and consider comments received on this action then take the next appropriate steps.
- EPA also asked for information and data on other PFAS substances, as well as seeking comment on potential monitoring requirements and regulatory approaches EPA is considering for PFAS chemicals.
Highlighted Action: Cleanup
- In December 2019, EPA issued Interim Recommendations for Addressing Groundwater Contaminated with PFOA and PFOS, which provides cleanup guidance for federal cleanup programs that will be helpful to states and tribes.
- In July 2020, EPA submitted the Interim Guidance on the Destruction and Disposal of PFAS and Materials Containing PFAS. The guidance would provide information on technologies that may be feasible and appropriate for the destruction or disposal of PFAS and PFAS-containing materials. It would also identify ongoing research and development activities related to destruction and disposal technologies, which may inform future guidance.
- EPA is working on the proposed rule to designate PFOA and PFOS as hazardous substances under CERCLA. In the absence of the rule, EPA has used its existing authorities to compel cleanups.
Highlighted Action: Monitoring
- In July 2020, EPA transmitted the Unregulated Contaminant Monitoring Rule 5 (UCMR 5) proposal to OMB for interagency review. Consistent with EPA’s commitment in the PFAS Action Plan and the requirements of the FY 2020 NDAA, EPA anticipates proposing nationwide drinking water monitoring for PFAS under UCMR 5 utilizing new methods that can detect PFAS that could not be detected before as the new methods detect more PFAS chemicals at lower concentrations than previously possible.
Highlighted Action: Toxics
- In September 2019, EPA issued an advanced notice of proposed rulemaking that would allow the public to provide input on adding PFAS to the Toxics Release Inventory toxic chemical list.
- In May 2020, EPA issued a final regulation that added a list of 172 PFAS chemicals to Toxics Release Inventory reporting as required by the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2020.
- In July 2020, EPA issued a final regulation that can stop products containing PFAS from entering or reentering the marketplace without EPA’s explicit permission.
Highlighted Action: Surface Water Protection
- EPA is exploring data availability and research to support the development of Clean Water Act human health and aquatic life criteria for PFAS.
- EPA is examining available information about PFAS discharges in surface waters to identify industrial sources that may warrant further study for potential regulation.
Highlighted Action: Biosolids
- EPA is developing a risk assessment to better understand the potential public health and ecological risks associated with PFOA and PFOS in land-applied biosolids.
Highlighted Action: Scientific Leadership
- In August 2020, EPA awarded $4.8 million in funding for new research on managing PFAS in agriculture.
- EPA continues to compile and assess human and ecological toxicity information on PFAS to support risk management decisions.
- EPA continues to develop new methods to test for additional PFAS in drinking water.
- The agency is also validating analytical methods for surface water, groundwater, wastewater, soils, sediments and biosolids; developing new methods to test for PFAS in air and emissions; and improving laboratory methods to discover unknown PFAS.
- EPA is developing exposure models to understand how PFAS moves through the environment to impact people and ecosystems.
- EPA is working to develop tools to assist officials with the cleanup of contaminated sites.
- In May 2020, EPA announced that it is expanding its research efforts and capabilities by launching its PFAS Innovative Treatment Team (PITT).
- In July 2020, EPA added new treatment information for removing PFAS in drinking water.
Highlighted Action: Technical Assistance
- Just as important as the progress on PFAS at the federal level, is EPA efforts to form partnerships with states, tribes, and local communities across the country.
- EPA has provided assistance to more than 30 states to help address PFAS, and the agency is continuing to build on this support.
- These joint projects allow EPA to take the knowledge of its world class scientists and apply it in a collaborative fashion where it counts most.
Highlighted Action: Enforcement
- EPA uses enforcement tools, when appropriate, to address PFAS exposure in the environment and assists states in enforcement activities.
- EPA has already taken actions to address PFAS, including issuing Safe Drinking Water Act orders and providing support to states. See examples in the PFAS Action Plan.
- In May 2020, EPA and Swix Sport USA finalized an agreement resolving Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) violations associated with the importation of noncompliant ski wax products containing PFAS.
Highlighted Action: Risk Communications
- EPA is working collaboratively to develop a risk communication toolbox that includes multi-media materials and messaging for federal, state, tribal, and local partners to use with the public.
Additional information about PFAS can be found at: www.epa.gov/pfas