On December 18, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced interim guidance on destroying and disposing of certain per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) and PFAS-containing materials. The new interim guidance outlines the current state of the science on techniques and treatments that may be used to destroy or dispose of PFAS and PFAS-containing materials from non-consumer products, including aqueous film-forming foam (AFFF). AFFF is used as part of fire suppression systems and in emergency responses. The EPA is accepting public comments 60 days once published in the federal register, which has yet to occur. Comments can be submitted at www.regulations.gov and identified by Docket ID No. EPA-HQ-OLEM-2020-0527.
PFAS have been used in the production of Teflon, Scotchgard, cardboard packaging and other products since the 1960s. Manufacturers stopped using the chemicals in 2006, but because they do not deteriorate, these potentially harmful chemicals pose a long-term risk. The interim guidance comes after the EPA announced in February 2020 it will propose regulatory drinking water standards for PFAS.
As owners, users and regulators of water resources, counties are directly impacted by new regulatory standards to address PFAS contamination. Counties support efforts by EPA and other federal agencies to study the health and environmental impacts of PFAS compounds. Additionally, should the Biden Administration moves toward regulatory action, counties urge the administration to work closely with state and local governments throughout the rule-making process.