The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) released new interim guidance for public comment regarding destroying and disposing of certain per– and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) and PFAS-containing materials. The new interim guidance outlines the current 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 for firefighting.
In the limited time provided under the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2020 (FY20 NDAA), the interim guidance assembles and consolidates information into a single document that generally describes thermal treatment, landfill, and underground injection technologies that may be effective in the destruction or disposal of PFAS and PFAS-containing materials. To help ensure informed decision-making, the technology-specific information describes uncertainties and how those uncertainties should be weighed given situation-specific factors, such as the physical phase of the waste, whether it is liquid, solid, or gas.
There are many current research efforts being coordinated across the Federal government to help address PFAS destruction. USEPA will incorporate this increased knowledge into future versions of guidance documents to help decision-makers choose the most appropriate PFAS disposal options for specific circumstances.
As required by the FY20 NDAA, the interim guidance addresses PFAS and PFAS-containing materials including:
- Aqueous film-forming foam used for firefighting.
- Soil and biosolids.
- Textiles, other than consumer goods, treated with PFAS.
- Spent filters, membranes, resins, granular carbon, and other waste from water treatment.
- Landfill leachate containing PFAS.
- Solid, liquid, or gas waste streams containing PFAS from facilities manufacturing or using PFAS.
The interim guidance is not intended to address destruction and disposal of PFAS-containing consumer products, such as non-stick cookware and water-resistant clothing. USEPA is also providing guidance on testing and monitoring air, effluent, and soil for releases near potential destruction or disposal sites. USEPA’s interim guidance captures the significant information gaps associated with PFAS testing and monitoring and identifies specific research needs to address the FY20 NDAA requirements.
USEPA will accept comments on the interim guidance via the Federal Register through February 22, 2021. USEPA will consider and incorporate comments into a revised document before reviewing and revising the interim guidance at least once every three years.