EPA Issues Preliminary Determination to Set Enforceable Drinking Water Standard for PFAS and PFOS


Feb 28, 2020

Drinking Water

On February 20, 2020, the EPA announced it is issuing a preliminary regulatory determination for public comment to set an enforceable drinking water standard for two of the most common per and poly-fluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) and perfluorooctanesulfonic acid (PFOS). This decision was based on the criteria that PFOA and PFOS have an adverse effect on public health, are present in our drinking water at a frequency and concentration that represent a public health concern, and regulation will reduce the health risk to those served by public water supply systems.

The preliminary regulatory determination is the first step in setting a drinking water standard, called as a maximum contaminant level (MCL) under the Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA). If an MCL is established, utilities will be required to monitor for these PFOA and PFOS and potentially treat their water to keep concentrations below the standard. It is important to note that this proposed regulation only covers PFOS and PFOA, and not the nearly 5,000 other PFAS compounds.

Additionally, as part of the February 20 decision, EPA proposed not to regulate six additional contaminants, 1,1-dichloroethane, acetochlor, methyl bromide, metolachlor, nitrobenzene, and RDX, which were also on the fourth contaminant candidate list to be considered for regulation.

For additional information regarding this decision, view the EPA news release.