EPA’s First PFAS Clean Water Act Enforcement
On April 26, 2023, EPA announced that the Agency has taken the first federal Clean Water Act enforcement action for PFAS discharges. The Agency ordered Chemours Company to follow corrective measures relating to exceedances of the limits set for per and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) in stormwater and wastewater discharges from the Washington Works facility in Parkersburg, WV. The PFAS limits were set by in the company’s National Pollution Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permits.
EPA issued an administrative order on consent (AOC) for the facility for exceeding permit limits on PFOA and HFPO Dimer Acid on more than 20 dates from September 2018 to March 2023. The exceedances were documented in the discharge monitoring reports submitted by the company to the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection – a permit requirement. EPA also stated that Chemours was in violation of requirements for properly operating and maintaining all facilities and systems for permit compliance. The AOC requires that Chemours take the following actions:
1) Implement a sampling plan to analyze PFAS and conduct analysis on the presence of PFAS in the stormwater and wastewater discharges. The plan must be submitted to EPA for approval.
2) Submit and implement a PFAS treatment plan or minimizing plan to EPA for compliance with the permit limits.
3) Submit its existing Standard Operating Procedures for their management of wastewater for various systems and their revised Storm Water Pollution Prevention Plan.
In its press release, EPA noted that “Administrator Regan has directed EPA staff to use every enforcement tool at our disposal to compel manufacturers of PFAS to characterize, control, and clean up ongoing and past PFAS contamination,”
The AOC can be accessed here.