On January 5, EPA released its PFAS Analytic Tools database, a collection of PFAS information the Agency has brought together from internal Agency databases, other federal agencies, and state and tribal agencies. The data will be particularly useful to the Agency when it reviews submissions on PFAS releases from the Toxics Release Inventory (“TRI”) reporting. In addition, EPA expects that the database will benefit state, local, and tribal governments in navigating the PFAS-related requirements they are subject to. The Agency also expects that the database will help communities gain a better understanding of local PFAS releases.
The database has 11 tabs that include:
- An integrated map,
- Drinking water contamination, production,
- Wastewater and/or stormwater discharge monitoring,
- Superfund sites,
- Industry sectors in which PFASs were manufactured or used as raw materials, and
- toxic releases.
In its press release on the database and on the database interface itself, the Agency identifies several data gaps. For example, the drinking water Unregulated Contaminant Monitoring Rule (“UCMR”) data was collected only between 2012 and 2015. EPA notes that state agencies and public water systems may have better data on PFAS levels in drinking water. Additionally, only a few states have set PFAS effluent limits for National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (“NPDES”) permit holders, causing significant gaps in discharge monitoring. (The Agency has initiated rulemaking to increase monitoring effluent for PFAS.
Each tab identifies relevant data gaps and limitations.
The Agency is taking steps to fill these data gaps, including:
- Initiating rulemaking to increase monitoring effluent for PFAS;
- Publishing the fifth Unregulated Contaminant Monitoring Rule, which will significantly increase the number of drinking water samples collected by regulated entities (EPA predicts the number of samples collected will be in the millions);
- EPA’s proposal to designate PFAS as hazardous substances under CERCLA; and
- EPA’s recent proposal to change PFAS reporting requirements in the TRI data collection.