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Breaking it Down: 5 Facts About PFAS Regulations
January 7th, 2020
In 2016 the world became more acquainted with PFAS. The use, presence, and toxicology began to grow like wildfire. The leader of the pack, Vermont has been keeping track of PFAS since the beginning and have shared their knowledge with other states and the federal government as the pieces of this chemical puzzle continue to be solved. The state of Vermont has had a significant impact on the research and understanding of PFAS - testing PFAS in four major categories: PFAS impact monitoring, PFAS industrial uses, intensive PFAS use, and PFAS in waste streams. Based on this extensive testing and research, here is what you need to know about the future of PFAS:
1. SURFACE WATER QUALITY STANDARDS
By January 1st, 2024 the Agency of Natural Resources or ANAR will have protective standards against aquatic organisms and human health. This will directly link to the consumption of fish and shellfish. This will require that these organisms have a specific water quality fit for consumption by looking at the bioaccumulation factor (BAF) values. According to the ANAR PFAS Plan, these new standards will include:
- Site-specific and statewide BFAS for (5) PFAS
- PFAS monitoring data
- PFAS concentrations in wastewater, landfill and biosolids
- Monitoring requirements with permits
2. PFAS INDUSTRIAL USES
PFAS and industrial use have been an ongoing battle and problem. Trying to calculate the immense impact while also creating regulations to curb its affects has been very difficult on a state-by-state basis. The continued collaboration among states has helped to establish some regulations and processes to measure the PFAS impact. For example, some states have identified electroplating facilities as a potential source of PFAS. This state-level collaboration will continue, along with efforts to establish federal regulations that would benefit all states.
3. PFAS WASTE STREAMS
The DEC has investigated and conducted an extensive water system investigation in two stages - the first stage was completed July 1, 2019. They conducted a series of tests to attempt to break down the impact of PFAS waste in streams which included surface water samples collected in 4 separate sampling events - both upstream and downstream from WWTF that accepts landfill leachate. The results from the first phase will inform the DEC's approach to a second phase.
PFAS continues to be monitored at sites that are a common source of contamination - such as under unlined landfills -after initial investigations are completed. The main purpose of these ongoing tests are to ensure the impacts remain contained and that remediation can be implemented if levels of contamination increase. Eight unlined regulated landfills have requested PFAS testing from the DEC as part of a groundwater monitoring system. These requests were to be completed in 2019.
5. COMING TOGETHER
The PFAS impact on our environment is a nationwide issue. The testing each state performs and results of successful remediation and ongoing monitoring can benefit other states facing the same PFAS challenges. Although PFAS cannot be eliminated entirely, each state coming together to focus on a solution focused on preventive regulation can help contain the negative impact of PFAS, while sharing remediation technologies and advancements can assist states still attempting to address extensive contamination that has already occurred.
Click here to learn more about Con-Test PFAS testing and analysis.
Con-Test Analytical Laboratory is one of the leading environmental laboratories in the country. Located in the Greater Boston area, Con-Test services over 30 states nationally. Known as one of the top-quality environmental laboratories, Con-Test is a partner with leading international firms, the EPA, state governments, and more. Our diverse areas of expertise include air toxins, sediment, tissue, solids, aqueous, product testing and more. Contact us to learn more about our analytical testing services.