Pappas Call for Further EPA Action to Regulate PFAS Discharges

September 8, 2021
Press Release

Washington, D.C. - Today, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced plans to regulate certain discharges of PFAS as part of three rules the agency plans to write under wastewater pollution guidelines. The regulations will create effluent limitations guidelines (ELGs) and establish pretreatment standards for the organic chemicals, plastics and synthetic fibers industries to address PFAS discharges from these facilities. In addition, the EPA plan will update regulations for the metal finishing category to specifically include requirements to curb PFAS discharges from chromium electroplating facilities.

“This is long overdue but welcome news that the EPA will finally begin to regulate dangerous PFAS discharges into the environment,” said Congressman Chris Pappas. “These regulations are an important step forward in protecting our water and addressing one of the most pressing environmental issues facing our nation today. But we need additional protections to safeguard the environment and public health, and the EPA should expand these regulations to other known industries that are actively discharging these forever chemicals. I’ll keep fighting to build bipartisan support for my Clean Water Standards for PFAS Act, which has already passed the House, so we can hold polluters accountable, swiftly establish proactive limits for PFAS across many industries, and support communities that have been directly affected.”

Currently there are no EPA regulations limiting how much PFAS polluters can discharge into the environment. This means that the companies that manufacture products containing PFAS chemicals are able to release PFAS into federally regulated waters unchecked, endangering public health and requiring costly clean-up and treatment efforts to protect drinking water sources. The burden of costly clean-up efforts are often placed on the communities themselves, rather than on the companies responsible for the contamination. Congressman Pappas’s Clean Water Standards for PFAS Act regulates PFAS under the Clean Water Act in order to help stop toxic levels of PFAS from entering water sources in the first place.

Specifically, Congressman Pappas’s Clean Water Standards for PFAS Act would do the following:

  • Require the EPA to develop water quality criteria under the Clean Water Act for all measurable PFAS or classes of PFAS within three years, and develop effluent limitations guidelines and standards for all measurable PFAS or classes of PFAS within four years. This includes establishing pre-treatment standards to prevent the introduction of PFAS into publicly-owned water treatment facilities, stopping PFAS at the source before it gets into the municipal water system.     
  • Identifies nine priority industry categories that EPA must establish standards for including: Organic Chemicals, Plastics and Synthetic Fibers (OCPSF); Pulp, paper, and paperboard; Textile mills; Electroplating; Metal finishing; Leather tanning and finishing; Paint formulating; Electrical and electrical components; and Plastics molding and forming.
  • Authorize $200 million per year over five years for grants to assist Publicly Owned Treatment Works with implementing pretreatment standards.