EPA Requests Information on Addressing PFAS in the Environment for the Superfund Program

EPA has published a notice of proposed rulemaking, Addressing PFAS in the Environment, asking for public input, which the Agency will use to develop future per- and polyfluoroalkyl substance (PFAS) regulations under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA). The Agency asked for information on the potential future hazardous substance designation of a number of PFAS, categories of PFAS, and several PFAS precursors.

Request for Public Input Regarding Potential Future Hazardous Substance Designation of Seven PFAS

EPA had previously proposed designating PFOA and PFOS and their salts and structural isomers as hazardous substances under CERLA. The present notice requested feedback as to whether the agency should initiate action designating an additional seven PFAS and their salts and structural isomers or a subset thereof as CERCLA hazardous substances as well. The seven PFAS being considered for designation are:

  • Perfluorobutanesulfonic acid (PFBS), CASRN 375–73–5
  • Perfluorohexanesulfonic acid (PFHxS), CASRN 355–46–4
  • Perfluorononanoic acid (PFNA), CASRN 375–95–1
  • Hexafluoropropylene oxide dimer acid (HFPO–DA), CASRN 13252–13–6
  • Perfluorobutanoic acid (PFBA) CASRN 375–22–4
  • Perfluorohexanoic acid (PFHxA) CASRN 307–24–4
  • Perfluorodecanoic acid (PFDA) CASRN 335–76–2

EPA asked interested parties to submit information on whether any of these compounds may present substantial danger to public health or welfare or the environment. Such information could include data on mobility, persistence, and prevalence.

Request for Public Input Regarding Potential Future Hazardous Substance Designation of Precursors to PFOA, PFOS, and PFAS

The Agency is also considering initiating action that would designate certain PFAS precursors as hazardous substances under CERCLA. To make this determination, EPA requested information to help the Agency identify compounds that degrade to these PFAS through environmental processes such as biodegradation and hydrolysis.

Request for Public Input Regarding Potential Designation, or Designations, of Categories of PFAS as Hazardous Substances

Additionally, EPA is considering initiating action that would designate groups or categories of PFAS as CERCLA hazardous substances. These groups or categories would be based on characteristics that determine risk to human health and the environment, such as chemical structure, physical and chemical properties, mode of toxicological action, and precursors or degradants. To inform its decision-making, the Agency solicited the following information:

  • Published scientific literature that can inform whether categories of PFAS could or could not be designated as hazardous substances. This could include findings on the similarities or differences of a specific characteristic among PFAS. Also useful would be data on the relationship between different characteristics, such as the relationship between chemical structure and specific chemical, physical, or toxicological properties.
  • Other information that could inform EPA’s determination of whether to designate one or more categories of PFAS as hazardous substances.
  • Information that would contribute to economic analysis of the potential costs and benefits, including impacts on small entities, associated with a potential rulemaking designating categories of PFAS as hazardous substances. (Although CERCLA section 102(a) precludes EPA from taking cost into account in the designation of a hazardous substance, the Agency is requesting this information to help the Agency understand the potential costs and benefits associated with any potential future regulatory action.)

The deadline for submitting comments was extended from June 12 to August 11, 2023, during which period over 600 comments were submitted. The comments can be reviewed here.

EPA Releases Draft IRIS Assessment of PFHxS and Related Salts

On July 24, 2023, EPA released a draft IRIS Toxicological Review of Perfluorohexanesulfonic Acid (PFHxS) and Related Salts.  Comments on the draft assessment will be accepted through September 22, 2023.

The IRIS assessment found that, given sufficient exposure conditions, PFHxS is likely to cause thyroid and developmental immune effects in humans.  Other evidence suggests but is insufficient to infer that PFHxS exposure might cause teratological, hepatic, neurodevelopmental, and cardiometabolic effects in humans.  EPA concluded that there is inadequate information to assess whether PFHxS exposure can result in hematopoietic, reproductive, renal, and carcinogenic effects.

PFHxS is one of three PFAS currently undergoing IRIS assessments, along with PFNA and PFDA.  EPA previously published final IRIS assessments for two other PFAS: PFBA in December 2022 and PFHxA in April 2023.

PFAS Action Filed Against The Children’s Place

In July, a proposed class action lawsuit was filed against the children’s clothing store The Children’s Place, Inc. The complaint states that the company knowingly sells clothing containing per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) despite knowing that these substances are harmful to children’s health. Specifically, the complaint alleges violations of Illinois’ Consumer Fraud and Deceptive Business Practices Act, fraudulent concealment, breach of implied warranty, and unjust enrichment. The allegations are based on the company’s knowledge of the presence of PFAS in their school uniform products and their failure to disclose this fact in its labeling and advertising, knowing parents would not purchase or pay premium prices for the PFAS-containing products.

The Children’s Place products at issue in the case are school uniforms that meet the requirements of Chicago public and private schools. Plaintiff purchased a number of these items for her child. school uniform.  The complaint states that none of the labeling for these items identified the presence of PFAS in the products, and therefore, Plaintiff concluded that PFAS were not present in any of the school uniform items she purchased. However, according to the complaint, independent third-party testing determined many of these school uniform items contained PFAS. Plaintiff additionally claims that the presence of PFAS in these items runs counter to the testing protocols reported in the Children’s Place’s Annual Environment, Social, and Governance Report.  According to the report, the testing protocols help the company avoid unwanted chemical substances in its finished products and provide consumers with confidence that the products they purchase are safe.

The complaint cites to recent studies and reports on the presence of PFAS in children’s school uniforms, stating, “The presence of PFAS in school uniforms is particularly concerning, as uniforms are worn directly on the skin for upwards of eight hours per day, five days per week, by children, who are uniquely vulnerable to harmful chemicals. Due to children’s lower body weight and sensitive development, exposure to PFAS at a young age for prolonged periods of time may result in a greater lifetime threat of adverse health outcomes.” Plaintiff claims that because of the potential harm, she would not have purchased these products for her child had she been aware of the presence of PFAS.

Minnesota Passes Legislation Requiring Reporting on Intentionally Added PFAS

This June, Minnesota became the latest state to pass legislation that will require manufacturers to report intentionally added PFAS in consumer products. It also bans intentionally added PFAS in certain product categories. The legislation will require manufacturers with intentionally added PFAS in consumer products to report the following information to the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (“MPCA”):

  • A brief description of the product, including a universal product code (UPC), stock-keeping unit (SKU), or other numeric code assigned to the product.
  • The purpose for which PFAS are used in the product, including in any product components.
  • The amount of each PFAS, identified by its Chemical Abstracts Service Registry Number (CASRN), in the product, reported as an exact quantity determined using commercially available analytical methods or as falling within a range approved for reporting purposes by MPCA.
  • The name and address of the manufacturer and the name, address, and phone number of a contact person for the manufacturer.
  • Any additional information requested by the commissioner as necessary.

Manufacturers will need to submit this information to MPCA on or before January 1, 2026. Furthermore, manufacturers must then receive approval from the Agency before they can sell, offer for sale, or distribute products at issue for sale within the state.

If MPCA does not receive this information and believes a product contains intentionally added PFAS, the Agency can mandate the manufacturer of the product to conduct testing for PFAS. If product testing reveals there are no intentionally added PFAS in the product, the manufacturer must submit a certificate of compliance to MPCA attesting to this fact and including the supporting testing results and any other relevant information. If testing confirms there are intentionally added PFAS in the product, the manufacturer must provide testing results and additional information outlined in the legislation to the Agency.

The legislation bans intentionally added PFAS in a number of products. Such products include:

  • Carpets and rugs
  • Fabric treatments
  • Textile furnishings
  • Upholstered furniture
  • Cleaning products
  • Cookware
  • Cosmetics
  • Dental floss
  • Menstrual products
  • Children’s products
  • Ski wax

The bans on these products will have staggered effective dates between January 1, 2025, and January 1, 2032. The legislation does caveat that MPCA will permit the sale of products with intentionally added PFAS only in instances where the commissioner has determined there is a currently unavoidable use. Product categories that fall under a currently unavoidable use are not detailed in the legislation, but it does specifically state that none of the above product categories are eligible for a currently unavoidable use exemption.

EPA Releases Framework for Addressing New PFAS and New Uses Under TSCA

EPA has released the Framework for Addressing New PFAS and New Uses of PFAS. This document details the Agency’s planned strategy for evaluating Premanufacture Notices  (“PMNs”) for new PFAS compounds and Significant New Use Notices (“SNUNs”) for “new uses” of existing PFAS to ensure they do not pose harm to human health and the environment.

The Agency states that new PFAS substances present challenges for regulators, as there is frequently limited information available to assess their potential risks accurately. Many PFAS compounds are known to persist in the environment, bioaccumulate, and be toxic (known as “PBT”); the framework aims to qualitatively evaluate PFAS based on how likely they truly are to become PBTs in the body and environment.

The framework distinguishes between PFAS uses that may result in environmental releases and potential exposures and those that don’t. For example, PFAS applications that are deemed to have negligible exposure and minimal environmental release, such as in the closed systems used in the manufacture of electronics. EPA generally anticipates allowing the compounds to enter commerce after exposure data is provided.

The framework calls for more comprehensive testing, including toxicokinetic data, for PBT PFAS compounds that are expected to have a low but greater than negligible potential for environmental release and exposure. If initial testing raises concerns about exposure levels and risks, EPA will mandate further testing and risk mitigation before permitting manufacturing. This comprehensive testing would encompass physical-chemical properties, toxicity, and fate analysis. For example, uses of PFAS in spray-applied stain guards inherently involve releases into the environment. If required testing finds potential hazards, EPA has the authority under TSCA section 5 to demand additional testing and risk mitigation strategies or prohibit manufacturing entirely.

If EPA determines a new chemical substance poses an unreasonable risk, lacks sufficient risk information, or involves substantial production with potential exposure, it must issue a section 5(e) order for human health and environmental protection, which may include testing requirements. If PFAS data suggests it’s a PBT chemical and EPA anticipates exposures, the substance or significant new use could be deemed to present an unreasonable risk, therefore requiring either a section 5(f) order or an immediately effective proposed rule under TSCA section 6(a). The section 5(f) order applies to the submitter, while the 6(a) rule covers all users. For a SNUN, the 6(a) rule typically targets the specified new use. The chart below further details the possible EPA determinations and related actions following their review.

Determination Related Action
In the absence of sufficient information to permit a reasoned evaluation of risk from the substance or significant new use, the substance or significant new use may present an unreasonable risk. EPA must issue an order under TSCA section 5(e).
There is insufficient information to permit a reasoned evaluation of risk from the substance or new use. EPA must issue an order under TSCA section 5(e).
The substance or significant new use presents an unreasonable risk. EPA must take action under TSCA section 5(f).
The substance is or will be produced in substantial quantities, and there may be significant or substantial human and/or environmental exposure (exposure-based). EPA must issue an order under TSCA section 5(e).
The substance or significant new use is not likely to present an unreasonable risk. EPA notifies the submitter of its decision and publishes its findings in the Federal Register.


New Jersey Reaches Historic Settlement with Solvay Polymers over PFAS Contamination

On June 28, 2023, New Jersey’s Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP) announced a proposed settlement with Solvay Specialty Polymers USA, LLC (“Solvay”) over the company’s discharge of PFAS and other hazardous substances from its West Deptford facility.  According to a press release from New Jersey’s Office of Attorney General (NJOAG), the $392.7 million proposed settlement is the “largest single-site natural resource damages and remediation case in New Jersey history.”

In the 2020 complaint that led to the proposed settlement, NJDEP alleged that PFAS discharges and emissions from Solvay’s West Deptford facility had caused “widespread soil, sediment, groundwater, and surface water contamination.”  In particular, NJDEP asserted that levels of PFNA­—a type of PFAS—detected in surface water and public drinking water near the facility were higher than levels reported “anywhere else in the world.”  According to NJDEP, Solvay and the facility’s previous owner knew or should have known about the dangers posed by PFAS but “failed to disclose the impact of their use and releases of PFAS into the environment to the Department and the surrounding community.”

Under the terms of the proposed settlement, Solvay would be required to reimburse NJDEP for previous remediation efforts, pay claims for natural resource damages, and fund additional remedial activities to be undertaken by NJDEP and the company.  Solvay would be responsible for identifying and remediating contaminated natural resources and wells and providing regular reports of its remedial activities to NJDEP.  Funds allocated to NJDEP would primarily be used to address PFAS in drinking water systems.

The settlement comes after a 2019 NJDEP directive for Solvay and four other chemical manufacturers responsible for “significant contamination of New Jersey’s natural resources” to provide financial compensation for PFAS-related contamination and information on their PFAS use and emissions.  NJDEP’s 2020 complaint argued that Solvay did not fully comply with the directive.  According to NJOAG, Solvay is the first company identified by the directive to reach a proposed settlement with NJDEP.

A formal notice of the proposed settlement was published in the New Jersey Register on August 7, 2023.  Public comments on the proposal will be accepted through October 6, 2023.

TSCA Enforcement Action Taken Over Failure to Comply with PFAS SNUR

In December 2022, two separate lawsuits were filed against Inhance Technologies USA regarding its alleged production of certain PFAS substances in violation of the Toxic Substances Control Act (“TSCA”). These lawsuits are important as they raise novel questions of TSCA interpretation and enforcement.

The first lawsuit was filed by the U.S. Department of Justice, Environment and Natural Resources Division on behalf of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (“EPA”).  The second case is a citizen suit filed by the non-profit organizations Center for Environmental Health (“CEH”) and Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (“PEER”). U.S. v. Inhance Technologies LLC, U.S. Eastern District of Pennsylvania, Case No. 2:22-cv-05055; Center for Environmental Health v. Inhance Technologies USA, U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, Case No. 1:22-cv-03819. It is rare that EPA pursues TSCA enforcement actions in federal court. Similarly, the citizen suit provision of TSCA is exercised infrequently.

Defendant Inhance Technologies USA (“Inhance”) is a Texas-based corporation that treats plastic containers, including high-density polyethylene (HDPE), using a fluorination process. Inhance is the principal supplier of post-mold fluorination services in the United States.

According to the Complaints, Inhance has been in violation of the Long-Chain Perfluoroalkyl Carboxylate (“LCPFAC”)  Significant New Use Rule (“SNUR”) that requires manufacturers to file a Significant New Use Notice (“SNUN”) for any manufacturing (including importing) or processing of an LCPFAC for which there were no ongoing uses as of January 21, 2015. See 40 CFR 721.10536. This includes substances that are typically exempt byproducts under TSCA and LCPFACs that are imported as part of articles. Inhance allegedly violated two SNUR requirements.  The complaints assert that Inhance failed to submit a SNUN for LCPFAC substances formed during the fluorination of plastic containers at least 90 days prior to the manufacture of these substances. The second violation charged is the company’s manufacture of these substances before completion of the requisite 90-day SNUN review period.

Inhance received warning of its violation of the LCPFAC Rule by the Plaintiffs of each lawsuit months prior to litigation. The lawsuits follow a March 2022 letter EPA sent to the HDPE industry. EPA issued the letter, first “to remind industry of this issue to help prevent unintended PFAS formation and contamination,” and second, to “emphasize the requirement under TSCA as it related to PFAS and fluorinated polyolefins.” In its letter, EPA reminded the industry of the SNUR, highlighting that while LCPFAC chemical substances are byproducts of the fluorination process from the chemical and commercial standpoint, these substances are not eligible for the byproducts exemption in 40 CFR § 721.45(e). The Agency letter further encouraged the industry to pursue alternative fluorination processes which are less likely to foster unintentional PFAS creation. EPA’s lawsuit is its first enforcement matter against the HDPE industry following the Agency’s warnings.

In March 2022, EPA issued a Notice of Violation (NOV), requesting that Inhance provide the Agency with additional information on changes the company may have made to the HDPE fluorination process that would eliminate PFAS production. The NOV stated that if no changes to the manufacturing process had been made, Inhance would need to immediately cease manufacturing PFAS and submit a SNUN to the Agency for review. Agency review of the information submitted by the company confirmed that the company was producing substances that are subject to the LCPFAC Rule.

In September 2022, Inhance notified EPA that it intended to submit a SNUN for its fluorination processes, but that it was unwilling to cease its fluorination processes before or during the EPA SNUN review period. Inhance has consistently maintained that it believes its operations are in full regulatory compliance.

EPA’s lawsuit was filed on December 19, 2022, with the non-profit lawsuit following about a week behind. The Complaints allege a variety of TSCA violations, namely the following:

  • Section 5(a)(1) of TSCA, which states no person may manufacture or process a chemical substance for a significant new use unless (1) that person submits a Significant New Use Notice (“New Use Notice”) to the EPA; (2) the EPA reviews that notice; and (3) the EPA makes a determination on that use under Section 5(a)(3) of TSCA, 15 U.S.C. § 2604(a)(3). 15 U.S.C. § 2604(a)(1).
  • Title 40 C.F.R. § 721.25 prescribes similar requirements for any person seeking to engage in a significant new use of a chemical substance.
  • Section 15 of TSCA, which states that it is a prohibited act to fail or refuse to comply with any requirement of TSCA or any rule promulgated under TSCA. 15 U.S.C. § 2614.
  • Under 40 C.F.R. § 721.35, it is a violation of Section 15 of TSCA to fail to comply with any provision of Title 40, Part 721 of the regulations implementing TSCA.

Plaintiffs in both cases are seeking declaratory and injunctive relief under Section 15(a) of TSCA (15 U.S.C. § 2616(a)) and the Declaratory Judgment Act (28 U.S.C. § 2201) for Inhance to cease production of all products using the PFAS forming fluorination process. To resume production, Inhance must demonstrate to EPA that it has altered its production process to eliminate PFAS production.

Case Update

In April 2023, the U.S. District Court of the District of Columbia dismissed the lawsuit brought by CEH and PEER. Shortly after CEH and PEER filed their lawsuit, Inhance filed a motion to dismiss the case arguing that the lawsuit was inappropriate under TSCA’s diligent prosecution bar. DOJ filed an amicus brief supporting Inhance’s motion to dismiss. For the CEH and PEER lawsuit to proceed, the organizations would have needed to demonstrate that DOJ was not diligently prosecuting the case. The court granted Inhance’s motion stating that “[n]othing in the eight days between when DOJ filed its lawsuit and when the Plaintiffs filed theirs suggests that [DOJ] was not diligently prosecuting the case.”

On June 13, the court presiding over the DOJ lawsuit scheduled oral arguments for August 23, 2023.

European Chemicals Agency Releases Proposal Banning PFAS

On February 7, The European Chemical Agency (ECHA) proposed a ban on per- and poly-fluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) as part of the European Union’s Registration, Evaluation, Authorization, and Restriction of Chemicals (“REACH”) regulation. The ban, which would include about 10,000 PFAS substances, could greatly impact US companies that export virtually any product to the European Union (“EU”). These companies will need to examine whether their products contain PFAS before exporting products to the EU.

The proposed ban is the EU’s largest-ever chemicals prohibition. It is intended to achieve the EU’s goal of a non-toxic environment by 2050. ECHA proposes banning chemicals, mixtures, and articles with 25 parts per billion (ppb) or more of a particular PFAS or 250 ppb of a combination of PFAS. ECHA defined PFAS as “Any substance that contains at least one fully fluorinated methyl (CF3-) or methylene (-CF2-) carbon atom (without any H/Cl/Br/I attached to it).” According to ECHA, this definition encompasses more than 10,000 PFAS. The proposal explains that this definition is aligned with the definition of PFAS published in 2021 by the OECD. Excluded from the scope of the proposed ban are PFAS substances that are fully degradable as they do not fulfill the underlying concern of high persistence. The ban would begin 18 months following the finalization of the restriction, which is anticipated for some time in 2025.

The initial regulation will include a variety of exemptions with phase-out periods of five or 12 years. Pesticides (referred to as biocides in the EU), along with human and veterinary medicines, would also be exempted from the restriction. PFAS used in specialized fire-fighting suppressants, called aqueous film-forming foam (AFFF), are also exempt as they are being phased out through a separate restriction.

The proposed regulation would supersede existing regulations that allow PFAS in products such as food packaging, pesticides (referred to as biocides in the EU), and human and veterinary medicines. PFAS used in firefighting suppressants (aqueous film-forming foam) used largely by airports, fire departments, and military bases, are being phased out through a separate restriction.

Affected businesses may need to evaluate thousands of products for the presence of PFAS, ranging from camping gear to mobile phones. The ban is likely to have a significant impact on any US company selling products in the EU.

ECHA will accept public comments on the proposal until September 2023. EU companies, working through their trade associations, are already commenting on the proposed ban suggesting a longer phase-out period of 32 months instead of the proposed 18 months and additional exemptions where alternatives are not yet available. The final restriction is expected in 2025.

NEWMOA Announces Draft PFAS Prevention Model Act

In May 2023, the Northeast Waste Management Officials’ Association (NEWMOA) released a draft PFAS Prevention Model Act (Draft Model Act), model legislation for states to use in advancing the reduction of the use of polyfluoroalkyl substance (PFAS). NEWMOA is a non-profit interstate organization composed of the state environmental agency directors of hazardous waste, solid waste, waste site cleanup, emergency response, pollution prevention, and underground storage tank programs in Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island, and Vermont.

NEWMOA seeks to reach the goal of the “virtual elimination of the environmental releases of PFAS into the environment. NEWMOA outlined the following six main goals of this initiative:

  • Reduce/eliminate the use of PFAS in consumer products to the extent feasible.
  • Identify and implement source reduction programs.
  • Ensure that the substitutes for PFAS in products are safer and that there is no regrettable substitution.
  • Coordinate product disclosure, labeling, bans, phase-outs, source reduction, and end-of-life collection on a multi-jurisdiction basis.
  • Help consumers identify products containing PFAS and learn how to properly handle them.
  • Provide regulated entities with regulatory certainty.

To achieve these goals, NEWMOA has put forth what it refers to as a “menu of policy options” that legislators can weigh in their efforts to address PFAS contamination and exposure. By choosing from these options, NEWMOA purports states can adopt more consistent approaches to regulating PFAS-containing products.

The Draft Model Act contains 18 sections, beginning with relevant definitions developed by adapting definitions provided in the Toxics in Packaging Clearinghouse’s model legislation and existing PFAS laws.

The most unique aspect of the Draft Model Act is Section 4, which proposes the creation and implementation of a multijurisdictional clearing house. The role of the clearing house would be to “assist in carrying out the requirements of this Act and to help coordinate collection and reviews of the manufacturers’ notifications regarding PFAS-added products, applications for phase-out exemptions, the collection system plans, applications for alternative labeling/notification systems, education and outreach activities, and other related functions.” The clearinghouse would additionally be responsible for maintaining a database of “all products containing PFAS, including PFAS-added products; a file on all exemptions granted by the participating jurisdictions; a file on alternative labeling plans; and a file of all the manufacturers’ reports on the effectiveness of their collection systems.”

Additional notable provisions include:

  • Requiring PFAS-product manufacturers to provide notice to the relevant agency before the sale of the product in the relevant jurisdiction; if products are sold without the notification, a ban will be placed on the product.
  • Banning the sale of PFAS-added products in the relevant jurisdiction unless the relevant agency has determined that the use of the product is “currently unavoidable” (defined as whether the product is determined to be beneficial to the environment or protective of public health or protective of public safety; there is no technically feasible alternative that has less risk to human health or the environment to use of PFAS in the product; and there is no comparable non-PFAS-added product available at a reasonable cost”).
  • PFAS-added products that qualify for sale under a “currently unavoidable” use must have a label stating that the product contains PFAS.
  • Manufacturers must have an extended producer responsibility plan for a PFAS-containing product collection system, which will require approval from the relevant agency.

NEWMOA has accepted written public comment on the Draft Model Act and aims to finalize the model legislation by the end of summer 2023.

EPA Hosts CERCLA PFAS Enforcement Listening Sessions

In March, EPA hosted two public listening sessions requesting individual feedback regarding concerns about PFAS liability under CERCLA. The listening sessions follow the Agency’s August 2022 proposed rule, which would designate two of the most widely used PFAS as hazardous substances under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (“CERCLA”). EPA  has stated that the information gathered during these sessions and any written comments submitted on the topic will be reviewed and considered in drafting its enforcement and discretion policy.

The webinars each began with presentations summarizing CERCLA, detailing the potential harms of PFAS substances, and describing EPA’s plan to issue an enforcement discretion and settlement policy. In addition to comments voiced during the webinars, EPA is reviewing written comments received on the proposed rule. The Agency stated it intends to focus enforcement efforts on manufacturers, federal facilities, and other industrial parties whose actions result in the release of significant amounts of PFAS. EPA clarified that parties that resolve their liability with EPA through settlement would not be liable for third-party claims. Therefore, settlements may provide CERCLA contribution protection to some parties. The Agency’s enforcement discretion policy will be contingent on a party’s cooperation, and it retains the ability to address any situations which present imminent and substantial endangerment.

The Agency also commented on parties against which it does not intend to pursue CERCLA enforcement for PFAS contamination, including:

  • Water utilities and publicly owned treatment works;
  • Publicly owned and/or operated municipal solid waste landfills;
  • Farms that apply biosolids; and
  • Certain airports and fire departments.

EPA further commented that enforcement discretion under this policy would be limited to CERCLA and not impact EPA enforcement actions under any other applicable statute.

EPA has posted the recordings of the sessions, which can be viewed here.