EPA PFAS Plan – Companies Must Prepare Now

On Monday, the EPA rolled out what it dubbed a “sweeping proposal” for its strategy to tackling PFAS points. The EPA PFAS plan is a broad scale proposal to deal with PFAS points on many ranges, from testing necessities positioned on trade, ingesting water contamination points, Superfund remediation powers, to Clear Air Act issues. On the very least, firms concerned within the chemical, manufacturing and industrial sectors should take heed of the adjustments which might be coming, make acceptable adjustments to enterprise practices, and be sure that an intensive compliance examine is accomplished as quickly as attainable. Failing to take action will place firms at severe monetary danger and the window to keep away from severe enterprise interruption points associated to PFAS is shortly closing.

EPA PFAS Plan

The first focus of the EPA PFAS plan launched yesterday is to make sure that firms that the EPA believes are PFAS polluters be held accountable for the prices related to remediating the PFAS contamination. In growing its accountability system, the EPA PFAS plan begins initially by considerably growing necessities for chemical producers to reveal and check for well being and environmental results from quite a few PFAS. Actually, yesterday’s EPA PFAS plan is the farthest EPA assertion up to now when it comes to what number of PFAS it’s trying to acquire information from and whether or not it’s contemplating laws by courses of PFAS varieties versus one PFAS at a time. The EPA PFAS plan requires chemical producers to offer information on over 2,000 particular person PFAS, which will likely be grouped into 20 totally different classes based mostly on similarities in chemical composition. The EPA indicated that “The Company is targeted on bettering its capability to handle a number of
chemical substances without delay, thereby accelerating the effectiveness of laws, enforcement actions, and the instruments and applied sciences wanted to take away PFAS from air, land, and water.” That is the primary time that the EPA has clearly signaled an intent to contemplate regulating PFAS by classes or courses, versus particular person PFAS. The implications are monumental to companies, even past chemical producers, as growing laws on growing numbers of PFAS will instantly influence future enforcement motion liabilities by important numbers of firms. The EPA indicated that it intends to problem testing necessities by the autumn of 2021.

Moreover, the EPA for the primary time publicly put a timetable on issuing ingesting water requirements beneath the Secure Consuming Water Act for PFOA and PFOS. The EPA PFAS plan states that the EPA intends to problem its proposed last rule within the fall of 2022, with enactment of the ultimate rule by the autumn of 2023. Equally, the EPA PFAS plan signifies that the EPA seeks to designate some PFAS as hazardous substances beneath CERCLA by spring 2022, with a last designation by summer time 2023. Additionally detailed within the EPA PFAS plan are deadlines for laying the inspiration and framework for the EPA to additional regulate, or start to manage, PFAS in effluent, air emissions, and enhance present expertise to check for an measure PFAS in varied mediums.

Affect On Companies

Many firms assume that any regulation beneath the Secure Consuming Water Act, CERCLA, or the opposite legal guidelines talked about within the EPA PFAS plan is not going to influence them. Nevertheless, this perception supplies a false sense of safety that should instantly be dispelled. The EPA is signaling an intent to take regulatory motion associated to PFAS with respect to ingesting water contamination, industrial effluent discharge, air air pollution, and land-based environmental air pollution. Additional, the plan seeks to go properly past the normal PFOA and PFOS varieties of PFAS which might be mostly regulated, and as a substitute units up regulation by courses inside the PFAS household as a really actual risk. Whereas only a few firms in the USA are nonetheless utilizing PFOA and PFOS in any capability, hundreds of companies are utilizing different PFAS compounds in merchandise or manufacturing processes.

Direct trade effluent discharges into water sources (which might not be ingesting water sources, however could feed into ingesting water sources) would be the low-hanging fruit goal for native environmental companies on the state degree when the EPA passes an enforceable ingesting water restrict. Companies should be sure that they’ve all allowing so as, and it’s advisable that the allowing particularly encompasses PFAS. Failing to take action will trigger points down the road when native environmental regulatory our bodies look to find out, even retroactively, who PFAS water polluters are or had been, as these companies search to carry companies answerable for the prices related to cleansing up PFAS in ingesting water.

Waste administration firms and companies that ship their industrial waste to landfills are additionally properly suggested to do a full compliance examine. Whereas many firms don’t use PFAS instantly in their very own manufacturing processes, do the components or different uncooked supplies used within the manufacturing course of have PFAS contamination points? Are landfills doing due diligence to find out if they’re accepting PFAS waste? An organization may unknowingly ship PFAS-laden industrial waste merchandise to landfills, and so these are questions that firms should get solutions to. Over time, it’s attainable that the PFAS could leach out of the landfill and discover their means into native water sources. Environmental regulatory companies will look to those websites, the house owners of the websites, and doubtlessly firms sending waste to the websites as accountable events for PFAS contamination in waterways.

Lastly, even companies having nothing to do with PFAS or manufacturing from which PFAS might be a contaminant have to observe information relating to PFAS laws. For instance, has the property on which your corporation sits ever had fires which have required an area fireplace division to extinguish flames utilizing foam (traditionally, a PFAS containing product)? What did the proprietor of the positioning previous to you utilize the positioning for? Had been there attainable PFAS contamination points stemming from that prior enterprise? Did your due diligence stories and exams when buying the property take PFAS into consideration? If PFAS had been a contaminant on the land on which your corporation now operates, native environmental companies will pursue cleanup prices from any such enterprise no matter information or intent, and no matter whether or not the PFAS points had been the results of a previous firm on the positioning. These investigations and remediations could be extraordinarily costly and disruptive to companies.

Conclusion

Now greater than ever, the EPA is clearly on a path to manage PFAS contamination within the nation’s water, land and air. The EPA has additionally for the primary time publicly acknowledged after they count on such laws to be enacted. These laws would require states to behave, as properly (and a few states should enact stronger laws than the EPA). Each the federal and the state degree laws will influence companies and industries of many sorts, even when their contribution to ingesting water contamination points could seem on the floor to be de minimus. In states that have already got PFAS ingesting water requirements enacted, companies and property house owners have already seen native environmental companies scrutinize attainable sources of PFAS air pollution way more intently than ever earlier than, which has resulted in sudden prices. Past ingesting water, although, the EPA PFAS plan reveals the EPA’s want to take regulatory motion properly past simply ingesting water, and firms completely should start getting ready now for regulatory actions that may have important monetary impacts down the street.

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