On June 27, 2022, Rhode Island passed two new laws into effect that regulate six types of PFAS in food packaging, drinking water, ground water, surface waters, and landfills. These laws place stringent requirements on companies doing business in Rhode Island and open the door to regulatory agency enforcement action in the state of Rhode Island. In addition, the Rhode Island PFAS regulations mean that companies that have not already done so absolutely must assess both past and current PFAS uses and risks that the new laws present. Failing to do so could result in costly remediation efforts, lawsuits, and the need to quickly change manufacturing or other industrial processes to minimize risk.
Rhode Island PFAS Regulations
The first law passed into effect was (H7223/S2298), known as the “PFAS In Drinking Water, Groundwater and Surface Waters” law. Of note, the law sets an interim drinking water standard for the state of 20 parts per trillion (ppt) for six specific PFAS – PFOA, PFOS, PFHxS, PFNA, PFHpA, and PFDA. Under the law, water suppliers must, by July 1, 2023, test water supplies for the regulated PFAS. If any of the six PFAS, or any combination thereof, are detected in excess of 20 ppt, the water company must begin quarterly testing and provide potable water to all users of the water system until testing shows quantities of the regulated PFAS below 20 ppt.
In addition, the new law requires the Rhode Island Department of Health to set permanent standards for PFAS in drinking water by 2024. The permanent standards can be set for PFAS as an entire class or any subclass. It also requires the Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management to set standards for PFAS in ground water and surface water by December 31, 2023, as well as landfill standards by December 31, 2022. Finally, by November 1, 2023, the Department of Environmental Management must submit a plan for a statewide plan into potential sources of PFAS pollution.
The National Law Review, 28-07-22