Posted by Floralyn Teodoro on May 25th 2018

Clean Drinking Water Is “National Priority,” EPA Chief Vows

Scott Pruitt, Environmental Protection Agency’s administrator, said he takes the issue of water contamination from chemicals very seriously and considers it a “national priority.”

Clean Drinking Water Is National Priority EPA Chief Vows

During the PFAS National Leadership Summit last Tuesday, Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt said that keeping chemical contamination out of drinking water is a “national priority,” as published on The Wall Street Journal by Heidi Vogt.

The two-day summit held last May 22-23, 2018 in Washington, D.C. hosted by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) aimed to engage participants in sharing information and taking action on per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) in the environment.

Mr. Pruitt also told the officials during the summit that he’ll work with them to make sure they take action and not just raise awareness on this issue for the next couple of months. With this, he also announced a four-part action plan to address the chemical contamination issue.

The Chemical Contamination

PFAS are most often found in our most commonly used items such as electronics, non-stick cookware, stain-resistant fabrics and carpets, and firefighting foam. These chemicals are prevalent around military bases particularly because of their firefighting exercises.

These potentially hazardous chemicals can put everyone’s health at risk. In Mr. Pruitt’s opening remarks at the summit, he said “as we’ve used those chemicals over the course of many decades there are concerns across the country about these chemicals because of persistence, their durability getting into the environment and impacting communities in an adverse way. That’s the reason we’re here today.” “We’ll take the next step under the Safe Water Drinking Act process to evaluate the need for a Maximum Contaminant Level for PFOA and PFOS,” he added.

EPA’s Four-Step Action Plan

To ensure the eradication of PFAS from our drinking water, Mr. Pruitt outlined a four-step action plan, and posted it on EPA’s website as well:

  1. Initiation of steps to evaluate the need for a maximum contaminant level (MCL) for PFOA and PFOS by convening federal partners and examining all information about PFOA and PFOS in drinking water;
  2. Beginning the necessary steps to propose designating PFOA and PFOS as “hazardous substances” through one of the available statutory mechanisms, including potentially CERCLA Section 102;
  3. Development of groundwater cleanup recommendations for PFOA and PFOS at contaminated sites to be completed this fall; and
  4. Taking action in close collaboration with federal and state partners to develop toxicity values for GenX and PFBS.

For more information on the recently held PFAS National Leadership Summit and view some of the meeting materials such as videos, click here.