New Per- and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances (PFAS) Rules Coming to New Jersey

The New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP) is soliciting input from the public through February 19, 2019, regarding the proposed draft Interim Specific Groundwater Quality Criteria (ISGWQC) and draft Interim Practical Quantitation Levels (PQL) for perfluorooctonic acid (PFOA) and perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS). The proposed ISGWQC for PFOA and PFOS is 10 nanograms per liter (ng/L) or 10 parts-per-trillion (ppt). Most common groundwater contaminants are remediated to parts-per-billion (ppb) standards. An analogy for a ppb is a drop of water in an Olympic-sized pool. A ppt is 1,000 times less concentrated (a drop of water in 1,000 Olympic-sized pools).

There are a multitude of potential sources for these compounds, and there is potential for broad implications to manufacturers, local fire departments, sewage treatment works, defense facilities, and landfills. These compounds are mobile in the environment and are expected to be widespread in the groundwater underlying industrial areas. The sources can be as diverse as a car fire extinguished using firefighting foam or Department of Defense (DoD) facilities. PFOA and PFOS have already been identified in 10.5% and 3.4%, respectively, of New Jersey Public Water Supplies (PWS). They have been identified in 1.9% of PWS nationally. Parties identified as responsible for PFOA or PFOS are likely to spend considerable resources identifying the sources and extent of PFOA and PFOS in the groundwater both below and migrating onto their sites.

The materials on the NJDEP Division of Science and Research website should be reviewed by interested persons, and comments should be submitted to Heidi.Oneill@dep.nj.gov. If you have other questions related to PFAS regulations within New Jersey and throughout the United States, please contact the author, Steve Maxwell, at smaxwell@cecinc.com or at 888-267-7891.

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