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Groundwater and PFAS


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Congress introduces a flurry of PFAS legislation

May 13, 2019, 12:49 PM by Pat Levak
Bipartisan legislation tackles variety of PFAS issues.
 

Representatives from both parties of Congress have released a half-dozen bills in response to per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) contamination. The bills range from providing more funding for communities tasked with the cost of treating contaminated water to increasing transparency in reporting chemical flows and prohibitions on products with PFAS.

The bills are:

  • The PFAS Drinking Water Act from Representative Frank Pallone (D-New Jersey), introduced on May 9, offers an alternative for helping communities with the cost of treating contaminated water. The bill authorizes $500 million per year over five years for grants to utilities under a program administered by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
  • The PFAS Right-to-Know Act was introduced on May 8 and adds PFAS to the Toxics Release Inventory, a move that would require companies to disclose annually the quantity of PFAS released to air, land, and water.
  • The PFAS Federal Facility Accountability Act, introduced by a bipartisan group of Michigan representatives on May 9, requires federal departments to follow state rules for PFAS cleanup. The unwillingness of the U.S. Air Force to adhere to Michigan’s groundwater standards is an ongoing issue in that state.
  • The PFAS Waste Incineration Ban Act introduced by Representatives Ro Khanna (D-California), Debbie Dingell (D-Michigan), and Dan Kildee (D-Michigan) on May 9 requires the EPA to prohibit the burning of firefighting foam with PFAS as a means of disposal. A related bill directs the agency to issue guidelines for reducing use of such foams.
  • The PFAS User Fee Act from Representative Harley Rouda (D-California), introduced on May 8, requires PFAS manufacturers to pay into a trust fund, from which grants will be given to affected communities to pay for water treatment costs.

PFAS have 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, which 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.

NGWA is hosting educational events on PFAS this year as well:

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). The guidance document, created by 36 NGWA volunteers who spent 1100 hours on it over 12 months, 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 Events

PFAS in Groundwater Workshop: The Professional’s Challenge
June 18, 2019

The PFAS Management, Mitigation, and Remediation Conference
June 19-20, 2019

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

 

NGWA PFAS Experts

seth-kelloggSeth Kellogg, PG, a senior geologist at Geosyntec Consultants,​ was elected to the board of the Scientist and Engineers Section of National Ground Water Association (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 per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) have emerged as environmental concerns, she 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 co-authoring NGWA’s “Groundwater and PFAS: State of Knowledge and Practice” (NGWA 2018). In May 2018, Ms. Kellogg was recommended by members of the NGWA Board of Directors and to represent NGWA at the United State Environmental Protection Agency National Leadership Summit on PFAS.  Ms. 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 is currently serving as a program advisor and facilitator for NGWA’s PFAS in Groundwater Workshop (August 2018).


lauren-schapkerLauren Schapker, NGWA Government Affairs Director manages the Association’s government affairs program focusing on legislative and regulatory impacts around a number of key issues, including PFAS and other emerging contaminants, infrastructure, natural resources, and energy. In addition to policy, Lauren also oversees the sweeping grassroots and political engagement efforts of NGWA. Prior to joining NGWA, she served as director of government and political affairs for the Portland Cement Association, where she focused on energy and infrastructure issues.  Schapker also spent several years at Xenophon Strategies, a boutique public affairs firm, where she focused on representing local governments and municipalities with transportation and infrastructure needs.​​