Legal Alert

EPA Updates Superfund Screening Levels for Five PFAS

June 2, 2022

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced on May 18 that it has added five per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) to a list of risk-based values for regional screening and removal management levels.

The update sets residential soil, industrial soil, and tap water regional screening levels (RSLs) for the five PFAS which help EPA determine whether further investigation is necessary. The update also sets regional removal management levels, which aid EPA in undertaking removal actions under CERCLA.

The five PFAS are: GenX (HFPO dimer acid and its ammonium salt); PFOA; PFOS; PFNA; and PFHxS.

According to InsideEPA, the regional screening level for PFOA is now listed as 60 parts per trillion (ppt) for tap water and the soil screening level protective of groundwater for PFOA converts to 910 ppt. For reference, EPA’s current drinking water health advisory level for PFOA and PFOS is 70 ppt.

While EPA reviews and updates these screening levels biannually, this action coincides with other EPA actions on PFAS. While the White House Office of Management and Budget continues to review a draft EPA proposal that is expected to designate two types of PFAS (PFOA and PFOS) as “hazardous substances” under CERCLA, EPA has reportedly issued CERCLA 104(e) information requests to several Superfund PRP groups seeking information about PFOA and PFOS as well as 12 other PFAS. Though PFAS are not “hazardous substances” under CERCLA, EPA claims its 104(e) request authority extends to cases where the agency has “a reasonable basis to believe there may be a release or threat of release of a hazardous substance or pollutant or contaminant.”

Ballard Spahr attorneys in the Environment and Natural Resources Practice advise on regulatory compliance and enforcement matters arising under federal environmental statutes as well as state and local programs. We analyze and negotiate the environmental issues at play during transactions and project development. Please contact us for more information.

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