Senate Committee Approves PFAS Legislation
On June 19, the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee approved legislation to help communities deal with two types of PFAS (per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances). The bill, S. 1507, was amended to include several other legislative proposals to help with PFAS remediation. Included in the amended bill was language from S. 1251, the Safe Drinking Water Assistance Act. APWA previously signed onto a letter of support for S. 1251.
The amended bill would require the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to establish a drinking water standard for two most common forms of PFAS (PFOS and PFOA) within two years, as well as require that the roughly 200 PFAS substances be added to the Toxics Release Inventory. Similar language was included in the recently introduced National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), which is designed to prompt Department of Defense agencies to assist in PFAS cleanup. Senate Armed Services Committee Chair Jim Inhofe (R-OK) stated that he is open to considering the PFAS amendment in the floor proceedings for NDAA.
The language from S. 1251 would help improve research into the human health implications of emerging contaminants in drinking water by establishing an interagency working group between EPA and the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). The bill would also establish a National Emerging Contaminant Research Initiative to improve how communities deal with emerging contaminants.