On the federal level, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has extended the public comment period until June 10 for its Preliminary Regulatory Determination regarding the need to establish enforceable drinking water standards for PFOA and PFOS, as well as regulating PFAS individually or collectively. On May 21, the American Water Works Association
to the EPA on this matter and issued an accompanying
“AWWA welcomes a robust scientific review of the toxicological research that is available,” the comments stated. “Attributing specific health effects to PFOA and PFOS is complicated and different toxicologists have come to very different conclusions based on the available data. These conclusions are so different as to have substantial implications for regulatory thresholds and drinking water treatment.”
AWWA’s comments pointed out that existing state and federal statutory authorities -- the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA), Clean Water Act, Clean Air Act, Resource Conservation and Recovery Act -- are not being effectively applied to stop PFAS from entering U.S. surface water and ground water. “Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA) standards are not intended to be the trigger for protective actions, but rather the failsafe for when other best available business practices and regulatory barriers have failed,” AWWA wrote. “If drinking water standards are to be developed, then these authorities should be used to minimize drinking water supply contamination.”
In California, the Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA) continues to work on developing draft Public Health Goals for PFOA and PFOS, and OCWD is providing input on that process, as appropriate. The state is aiming to have the Maximum Contaminant Levels for PFOA and PFOS complete by Fall of 2023.
Additionally, the Division of Drinking Water has requested Notification Levels and Response Levels for seven additional PFAS from OEHHA based on statewide data from the 2019 monitoring orders.
And, California water agencies are awaiting new drinking water testing orders from the Division of Drinking Water to direct the next round of testing for PFOA and PFOS. The Division of Drinking Water has indicated that new monitoring orders should be issued by July 1 of this year and will be expanded from the 2019 orders, including more agencies and potentially additional compounds, with required testing to begin either in the 3rd or 4th quarter. Once the orders are received, OCWD will again be assisting retailers in testing for PFAS in their wells during a presumed four-quarter testing period. OCWD will continue to work closely with state regulators and provide you with updates as we get them.