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EPA establishes new council on PFAS

Apr 28, 2021, 14:00 PM by Pat Levak

U.S. Environmental Protection Administrator Michael S. Regan issued a memorandum to EPA’s senior leadership on April 27 calling for the creation of a new EPA Council on PFAS that is charged with building on the agency’s ongoing work to better understand and ultimately reduce the potential risks caused by per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS).

Regan has asked Radhika Fox, principal deputy assistant administrator in the Office of Water, and Deb Szaro, acting regional administrator in Region 1, to convene and lead the EPA Council on PFAS, which will be comprised of senior EPA career officials from across the agency.

The agency’s ongoing work on PFAS is based on the 2019 EPA PFAS Action Plan. Developed by EPA career staff, the plan identifies an agenda and actions that have yet to be realized. Regan is directing the EPA Council on PFAS (ECP) to:

  • Develop “PFAS 2021-2025 — Safeguarding America’s Waters, Air and Land,” a multiyear strategy to deliver critical public health protections to the American public; to develop the strategy, the ECP will review all ongoing actions, propose any necessary modifications, and identify new strategies and priorities, as well as make initial recommendations within 100 days of its establishment
  • Continue close interagency coordination on regional specific and cross-media issues to assist states, tribes, and local communities faced with significant and complex PFAS challenges
  • Work with all national program offices and regions to maximize the impact of the EPA’s funding and financing programs, and leverage federal and state funds to support cleanup of PFAS pollution, particularly in underserved communities
  • Expand engagement opportunities with federal, state, and tribal partners to ensure consistent communications, exchange information, and identify collaborative solutions.

Click here for additional information.

NGWA has long been an industry leader in providing PFAS research, education, and resources to the public and scientific communities. In 2017, NGWA published Groundwater and PFAS: State of Knowledge and Practice, which was one of the first PFAS guidance documents to be released. It can be found at NGWA.org/PFAS, which is a complete resource center about the groundwater contaminants featuring a FAQs document, a top-10 facts sheet, a homeowner checklist, and more.

As in previous years, NGWA is once again hosting an event on the topic — the Fate of PFAS: From Groundwater to Tap Water virtual conference will take place June 22-23.

PFAS risk communication

pfas-contractorsAs a groundwater professional you may need to inform a customer of the potential for per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) contamination in their well water and subsequent actions to mitigate exposure. NGWA recently published “PFAS Risk Communication for Contractors,” a two-page fact sheet to aid groundwater professionals in such communications. The document features common questions that may be asked and talking points that may be of assistance.

The document was crafted by the following volunteers and NGWA staff:

  • Bill Alley, Ph.D., NGWA
  • Melissa Harclerode, Ph.D., ENV, SP, CDM Smith Inc.
  • Shalene Thomas, VP, Wood Environment & Infrastructure Solution
  • Andy Horn, PG, Westwater Hydrology LLC
  • Dave Schulenberg, NGWA

PFAS and private wells

pfas-well-ownersNGWA recently published “PFAS and Private Well Owners: What You Need to Know,” a two-page fact sheet that groundwater professionals can distribute to customers and others in their community concerned about PFAS. Written in easy-to-understand language by groundwater professionals, it explains what PFAS are, how to test wells for PFAS, treatment options, and more.

The document was crafted by the following volunteers:

  • Jeff Hale, PG, Parsons Corp.
  • Karen Kinsella, Ph.D., GZA GeoEnvironmental Inc.
  • Jim LoCoco, CPG, Mount Sopris Instrument Co. Inc.
  • Richard Mest, Master Water Conditioning Corp.
  • Brandon Newman, ECT2.

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 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.