PFAS Background

PFAS substances, which have been in used in many industries and consumer products since the 1940s, can be found in soil, air, surface water and groundwater throughout the world. 

This past March, the United States Environmental Protection Agency proposed National Primary Drinking Water Regulation (NPDWR) for six PFAS contaminants. The proposed PFAS NPDWR is anticipated to be finalized by the end of 2023 and does not require any actions from drinking water suppliers until it is finalized. 

In December of 2021, the EPA issued the fifth Unregulated Contaminant Monitoring Rule (UCMR) list. Under UCMR5 public water systems will monitor for 30 chemical contaminants from 2023 through 2025, and complete data reporting by 2026. Twenty-nine of the contaminants to be monitored are per- and polyfluoroalkyl (PFAS) substances. The six PFAS contaminants listed in the proposed PFAS NPDWR are included in the UCMR5.

Under the Unregulated Contaminant Monitoring Program, the EPA collects data on contaminants suspected to be present in drinking water, but that do not have health-based standards. The monitoring provides the EPA with data as to the occurrence and exposure level of the different contaminants, so that regulatory decisions can be developed.