Image depicting blog post on Biden-Harris Administration's new PFAS water standards from the point of view of an attorney

A New Era in Water Safety: Biden-Harris Administration Sets Historic PFAS Standards

In a world where access to clean and safe drinking water is paramount to public health and well-being, the recent announcement by the Biden-Harris Administration regarding the implementation of national drinking water standards for PFAS pollution stands as a beacon of hope.

PFAS, known as ‘forever chemicals,’ have long posed a threat to communities across the United States, with their pervasive presence in our environment and potential health hazards. The unveiling of these historic standards marks the beginning of a transformative journey to ensure the fundamental right to clean water for all.

Let’s review the significance of these regulations, their implications for public health, and the path forward in our collective quest for a healthier, more sustainable future.

Breaking News: National Standards for Clean Drinking Water

In a monumental move, the Biden-Harris Administration has announced the implementation of the first-ever national drinking water standards aimed at safeguarding approximately 100 million individuals from PFAS pollution. This groundbreaking development marks a significant step forward in the ongoing battle against harmful contaminants in our water supply.

EPA estimates that between about 6% and 10% of the 66,000 public drinking water systems subject to this rule may have to take action to reduce PFAS to meet these new standards. All public water systems have three years to complete their initial monitoring for these chemicals. They must inform the public of the level of PFAS measured in their drinking water. Where PFAS is found at levels that exceed these standards, systems must implement solutions to reduce PFAS in their drinking water within five years.

The new limits in this rule are achievable using a range of available technologies and approaches including granular activated carbon, reverse osmosis, and ion exchange systems. For example, the Cape Fear Public Utility Authority, serving Wilmington, NC – one of the communities most heavily impacted by PFAS contamination – has effectively deployed a granular activated carbon system to remove PFAS regulated by this rule. Drinking water systems will have flexibility to determine the best solution for their community.

EPA will be working closely with state co-regulators in supporting water systems and local officials to implement this rule. In the coming weeks, EPA will host a series of webinars to provide information to the public, communities, and water utilities about the final PFAS drinking water regulation. To learn more about the webinars, please visit EPA’s PFAS drinking water regulation webpage. EPA has also published a toolkit of communications resources to help drinking water systems and community leaders educate the public about PFAS, where they come from, their health risks, how to reduce exposure, and about this rule.

These newly proposed standards represent a bold and proactive approach to addressing the pervasive threat posed by PFAS compounds, which have infiltrated water sources across the country. By setting enforceable maximum contaminant levels for key PFAS chemicals, such as perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) and perfluorooctanesulfonic acid (PFOS), the administration is taking decisive action to protect public health and ensure access to clean and safe drinking water for millions of Americans. This historic initiative reflects a commitment to environmental stewardship and underscores the administration’s dedication to prioritizing the well-being of communities nationwide.

Understanding the PFAS Problem

Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), often referred to as ‘forever chemicals,’ have permeated our environment since their introduction in the 1940s. These persistent compounds are prevalent in everyday products like nonstick cookware, stain-resistant clothing, and firefighting gear and foam. Military personnel and firefighters are exposed to PFAS every day in gear AFFF, further highlighting the widespread nature of this issue and making them far more susceptible to a cancer diagnosis than the average population.

Additionally, PFAS contamination extends beyond consumer products, affecting communities near military and firefighting training facilities where runoff contamination has seeped into drinking water sources. Unfortunately, prolonged exposure to certain PFAS compounds has been linked to serious health concerns, including cancer, liver and heart damage, immune and developmental issues in infants and children, and other debilitating illnesses.

The insidious nature of PFAS compounds, coupled with their persistent presence in the environment, underscores the urgent need for comprehensive action to address this pervasive threat to public health and environmental well-being.

Investing in Clean Water and Beyond

Beyond regulatory measures, the Biden-Harris Administration has allocated a substantial $1 billion investment through President Biden’s Investing in America agenda to address PFAS contamination. This funding will empower communities to implement testing and treatment measures, bolstering efforts to ensure an end to unwanted and unintended PFAS exposure.

These resources may not only focus on ways to reduce PFAS levels in drinking water; they could also extend to regulating the presence of PFAS in all products that directly or indirectly contribute to PFAS exposure in the general population. By addressing PFAS in various consumer goods, from nonstick cookware to firefighting foam, this initiative aims to mitigate the pervasive health risks associated with PFAS exposure. As a result, communities may experience lower rates of cancer and other adverse health effects, setting the stage for a healthier future for generations to come. This significant financial commitment underscores the administration’s dedication to prioritizing public health and environmental justice, ensuring that all Americans have access to clean, safe drinking water and PFAS-free products.

Looking Ahead: What’s Next?

With these new standards in place, public water systems nationwide will face the obligation to monitor for PFAS contamination and implement appropriate remediation strategies. Over the next three years, systems will undertake comprehensive assessments to identify and address PFAS levels exceeding regulatory thresholds, prioritizing public health and environmental stewardship.

Simultaneously, regulatory agencies will work closely with industries to enforce stricter regulations on PFAS-containing products, ensuring that these harmful chemicals are phased out of consumer goods to prevent further contamination of our environment and protect public health. We may also see community outreach and education efforts ramp up to raise awareness about PFAS contamination and empower individuals to take proactive steps to reduce their exposure.

By fostering collaboration between government, industry, and the public, we can pave the way for a future where clean, safe water and PFAS-free products are the norm, safeguarding the health and well-being of current and future generations.

Cheers to Progress!

The establishment of national drinking water standards for PFAS represents a pivotal moment in our collective pursuit of clean, safe water. Through concerted efforts by the EPA and the Biden-Harris Administration, we are advancing towards a future where every individual can access water free from harmful contaminants. Here’s to progress, to healthier communities, and to safeguarding our most precious resource for generations to come.

In the face of PFAS contamination, The Downs Law Group stands as a legal advocate for those affected, including firefighters, military personnel, and residents exposed to PFAS in firefighting gear, AFFF, and contaminated water. Our dedicated attorneys are committed to fighting for justice and holding responsible parties accountable for the harm caused by PFAS exposure.

If you or a loved one have been impacted by PFAS contamination, don’t hesitate to reach out to us for a free case review at (305) 444-8226. Remember, at The Downs Law Group, you never pay if we don’t win!