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Groundwater and PFAS


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Congressional PFAS Task Force and others sign letter asking House and Senate negotiators to maintain provisions to respond to contamination

Sep 9, 2019, 15:58 PM by Pat Levak
More than 160 members of the House of Representatives signed the letter.

A Congressional PFAS Task Force and other members of Congress signed a letter on September 3 asking congressional leadership finalizing the National Defense Authorization Act of 2019 to keep the House of Representatives and Senate provisions addressing per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) contamination and cleanup. In total, a bipartisan group of 162 members of the House of Representatives signed the letter.

As members of Congress return from the August recess, differences between the House and Senate versions of the National Defense Authorization Act, the defense spending authorization bill, will be negotiated this month.

Circle of Blue reports the White House issued a veto threat in July against the House bill, which designates PFAS as hazardous substances under federal law and requires the military to discontinue the use of fluorine firefighting foams by 2025.

Despite some differences, both bills set a timetable for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to establish a national drinking water standard for perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) and perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS).

The September 3 letter notes that among the Senate and House provisions included in the Authorization Act are items relating to groundwater that would:

  • Require groundwater and drinking water quality monitoring for PFAS
  • Require reporting of industrial discharges of PFAS
  • Accelerate PFAS cleanups at military facilities through the use of cooperative agreements
  • Designate PFAS as “hazardous substances” under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act, also known as the Superfund law
  • Require permits for PFAS discharges under the Clean Water Act
  • Require the EPA to set a sufficiently protective drinking water standard for PFAS compounds
  • Require the Department of Defense to treat and clean PFAS-contaminated water used for agricultural purposes.

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.