EPA Announces Plan for RCRA Controls of Certain PFAS Materials

The ever evolving world of a regulatory framework for PFAS material underwent a potentially significant update on October 26th when EPA announced that they are undertaking a rule making process to identify certain PFAS materials as Hazardous Wastes under RCRA. The four PFAS chemicals EPA will evaluate are: perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA), perfluorooctane sulfonic acid (PFOS), perfluorobutane sulfonic acid (PFBS), and GenX.

The agency also announced an  additional rule making start that would clarify that under RCRA’s Corrective Action program, emerging contaminants such as these PFAS materials can fall under the program enabling cleanup activities for legacy issues. It is important to note that this is the beginning of the rule making process and timing around implementation and effective dates is still to be determined.

Once and if implemented the four substances of interest could be regulated as Listed Hazardous Wastes which would of course entail regulatory controls around use, storage, transportation and disposal of the same. Equally important is the second rulemaking as this will allow the agency to consider legacy contamination from past management practices and take action under CERCLA (“Superfund”) to address remediation and cost recovery from “responsible parties” including sites that may have already been remediated previously but may not have had PFAS issues addressed as part of that remedial activity. As there is already a significant amount of ongoing investigations into PFAS contamination, it is only natural to assume that more actions will also take place as regulatory guidance becomes more defined.

WTS will continue to monitor these developments and communicate the same with all of our stakeholders.

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