Anyone following the news in recent years has probably read about the pervasiveness of PFAS compounds (per- and poly-fluoroalkyl) in the natural environment. Called “forever” chemicals, this extensive family of chemical compounds is ubiquitous having been widely used for a variety of purposes. Ongoing environmental data collection indicates these compounds are mobile and slow to degrade in the environment. PFAS compounds are known to bioaccumulate within our bodies.
While considerable research continues, suspected medical concerns of high exposure include increased cholesterol, immune system adverse impacts, cancer, and thyroid hormone effects. PFAS is a significant current public drinking water focus with a kaleidoscope of individual state limits while federal limit development remains in progress.
Communities who own and operate wastewater treatment facilities (WWTF) will notice new requirements for PFAS monitoring in their upcoming National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NDPES) discharge permits for their facilities. Several New England wastewater facilities have recently received new NPDES discharge permits that include treated effluent and dewatered sludge monitoring for PFAS compounds. The final EPA requirements for sludge monitoring and reporting is still in process, but the data gathered over the next 5 years across New England, and nationally, will be used to further define the requirements for controlling disposal of PFAS into the environment.
Hoyle Tanner continues to meet the needs of the industry with engineering staff whose experience includes water system PFAS treatment as well as WWTF monitoring and reporting. Please contact me for help with your community.