PFAS Update: PFAS Regulation Under the NPDES Program


To date, businesses have only had to contend with a handful of state laws and regulations limiting the concentration of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (“PFAS”) in industrial wastewater discharges.

However, on April 28, 2022, EPA issued a guidance memorandum explaining that “EPA will use the NPDES program to restrict PFAS discharges to water bodies. For federally-issued permits, EPA will include requirements to monitor for PFAS, include requirements to use best management practices like product substitution and good housekeeping practices, and establish practices to address PFAS-containing firefighting foams in storm water.” The new memorandum supersedes a November 2020 EPA interim memorandum addressing similar issues, and it reaffirms EPA’s commitment to regulate PFAS compounds as outlined in the PFAS Strategic Roadmap.

All of which means that businesses with National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (“NPDES”) permits need to understand the new guidance, and evaluate whether PFAS discharges in wastewater are relevant to their business.

I. What is EPA Actually Requiring?

The April 28, 2022 Memorandum includes three significant requirements for all EPA-issued NPDES permits for facilities where PFAS substances are expected or likely to be present in their discharge:

  • Effluent Monitoring. Permits should include a requirement that facilities use the draft analytical method 1633 to test for the 40 PFAS compounds detectable under that method.
  • Monitoring Frequency. Sampling should be conducted quarterly, and all PFAS monitoring data must be reported on Discharge Monitoring Reports.

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JD Supra, 27-06-22