On November 16, the Pennsylvania Environmental Quality Board (“EQB”) voted to approve the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection’s (“PADEP”) proposed rule to set binding regulatory standards, known as maximum contaminant limits (“MCLs”) for PFOA and PFOS in drinking water.  As discussed in an earlier post, the proposed rule would set those limits at 14 parts per trillion (ppt) for PFOA and 18 ppt for PFOA – comparatively much lower than the current EPA health advisory level of 70 ppt combined (which is likely to be replaced by a federal MCL of a lower magnitude in late 2023 or early 2024).

PADEP’s proposed rule would apply to all community, nontransient, noncommunity, and bottled, vended retail, and bulk water systems in the Commonwealth and would require quarterly monitoring at each entry point (unless waivers or exemptions apply) during an initial one-year period, with repeat quarterly monitoring if at least one of PFOA or PFOS is detected above its minimum reporting limit (“MRL”) of 5 ppt. (Where there are no detections above the MRL during the first year, repeat monitoring is more limited.) If a system is out of compliance with either respective PFOA or PFOS MCL (14 or 18 ppt), the system would be required to provide public notice and to use appropriate treatment technologies to achieve compliance.

PADEP anticipates publishing the proposed rule in 2022 with a 60-day public comment period, and at least five public hearings to be scheduled statewide.  While the rule as proposed may change before it is finalized, affected water systems should begin to prepare, at least for the additional costs of initial quarterly monitoring for PFOA and PFOS.

Materials from the EQB’s November 16, 2021 meeting are available at the links below:

Proposed Rulemaking: Safe Drinking Water PFAS MCL Rule (25 Pa. Code Chapter 109)