The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) has issued Interim Recommendations for Addressing Groundwater Contaminated with Perfluorooctanoic Acid (PFOA) and Perfluorooctanesulfonate (PFOS) under federal cleanup programs, a priority action under the USEPA’s action plan for per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS).
“The interim recommendations will provide clear and consistent guidance for federal cleanup programs and will help protect drinking water resources in communities across the country. This is a critical tool for our State, Tribal, and local partners to use to protect public health and address these chemicals,” says Andrew Wheeler, USEPA Administrator.
After reviewing public comments on its April 2019 draft guidance, USEPA is finalizing the interim recommendations based on the available data and scientific information on PFAS toxicity. The new guidance recommends the following to address groundwater that is a current or potential source of drinking water:
- Using a screening level of 40 parts per trillion (ppt) to determine if PFOA and/or PFOS is present at a site and may warrant further attention.
- Screening levels are risk-based values that are used to determine if levels of contamination may warrant further investigation at a site.
- Using USEPA’s PFOA and PFOS Lifetime Drinking Water Health Advisory level of 70 ppt as the preliminary remediation goal (PRG) for contaminated groundwater that is a current or potential source of drinking water, where no state or tribal MCL or other applicable or relevant and appropriate requirements (ARARs) are available or sufficiently protective.
- PRGs are generally initial targets for cleanup, which may be adjusted on a site-specific basis as more information becomes available.