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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) in 2017. Created by 36 NGWA volunteers who spent 1100 hours on it over the course of 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 PFAS; it summarizes the fate, transport, remediation, and treatment of PFAS, as well as current technologies, methods, and field procedures.

NGWA PFAS event

Fate of PFAS: From Groundwater to Tap Water Conference
August 5-6, 2020

NGWA PFAS expert

seth-kelloggSeth Kellogg, PG, a senior geologist at Geosyntec Consultants,​ was elected to the board of the Scientists and Engineers Section of NGWA in 2016, and the national board in 2019. She has more than 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.