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Groundwater and PFAS


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Lawmaker reintroduces bill to give Michigan strictest limit on PFAS in drinking water

Jan 17, 2019, 11:02 AM by Pat Levak
The bill would set a legally enforceable limit of 5 ppt for two individual PFAS chemicals, PFOA and PFOS.

A lawmaker in Michigan reintroduced a bill in mid-January that would give the state the nation’s strictest limit on per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS).

Senator Winnie Brinks (D-Grand Rapids) introduced a new version of her legislation that would set a legally enforceable limit of 5 parts per trillion (ppt) for two individual PFAS chemicals, PFOA (perfluorooctanoic acid) and PFOS (perfluorooctanesulfonic acid), in public drinking water distributed by utilities, according to MLive Media Group.

The article states the new PFAS bill reflects the previous version, which seeks to amend the state’s Safe Drinking Water Act and set a maximum contaminant level (MCL) about 14 times lower than the existing federal health advisory level for PFOA and PFOS.

Brinks’ previous bill died without a markup in the House Natural Resources Committee even after she held a one-hour “PFAS 101” information session in December 2018.

To date, PFAS substances have been found at some level in the municipal drinking water serving more than two million people (about 20 percent of the state population).

Currently, the nation’s strictest MCL for PFAS substances in public drinking water is the 13 ppt limit on PFNA (perfluorononanoic acid), a lesser-known PFAS substance, set in 2018 by New Jersey. That state is looking to set low standards as well for PFOA and PFOS.

New York’s state Drinking Water Quality Council recently recommended setting state drinking water standards for PFOA and PFOS at 10 ppt.

Other states, according to MLive Media Group, are proposing standards that fall more in line with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency advisory level. In January, New Hampshire proposed drinking water standards of 70 ppt for PFOA, 38 ppt for PFOS, 23 ppt for PFNA, and 85 ppt for another lesser-known substance called PFHxS (perfluorohexane sulfonic acid).

The EPA has yet to set enforceable drinking water standards for PFAS amid calls by states and nonprofit groups to do so.

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PFAS has been on NGWA’s radar for several years and will remain a priority issue for the foreseeable future. The Association has created a Groundwater and PFAS resource center for NGWA members. The center includes PFAS FAQs, top 10 facts about PFAS, and a homeowner checklist, among other items. NGWA is also the publisher of the guidance document, Groundwater and PFAS: State of Knowledge and Practice.

As in 2018, NGWA is hosting educational events on PFAS this year:

NGWA guidance document

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NGWA published Groundwater and PFAS: State of Knowledge and Practice, a guidance document on per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS). Created by 36 NGWA volunteers who spent 1100 hours on it over 12 months, it is a comprehensive eight-part piece exploring the potentially hazardous, and widely discussed, compounds in groundwater and soil. NGWA published the document to identify the known science and knowledge related to per- and polyfluoroalkyl (PFAS) compounds. It summarizes the fate, transport, remediation, and treatment of PFAS, as well as current technologies, methods, and field procedures.

NGWA PFAS event

PFAS in Groundwater Workshop: The Professional’s Challenge
December 5, 2019

NGWA PFAS expert

seth-kelloggSeth Kellogg, PG, a senior geologist at Geosyntec Consultants,​ was elected to the board of the Scientist and Engineers Section of NGWA in 2016. She has 25 years of experience in evaluating complex contaminant hydrogeology and groundwater/surface water interactions, including large groundwater and sediment sites in New York and New Jersey. As PFAS have emerged as environmental concerns, Kellogg has been working with NGWA to advance the industry’s understanding and implementation of best practices. She has presented and published on the technical and regulatory challenges of PFAS contamination, including coauthoring NGWA’s Groundwater and PFAS: State of Knowledge and Practice (NGWA Press 2017). In May 2018, Kellogg was recommended by members of the NGWA Board of Directors to represent the Association at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency National Leadership Summit on PFAS. Kellogg’s leadership on PFAS has also included several presentations educating industry professionals on the fragmented PFAS regulatory framework, PFAS characterization challenges, and the complexities of PFAS fate and transport. She also served as a program adviser and facilitator for NGWA’s PFAS in Groundwater Workshop that was held in August 2018.