The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced Tuesday the progress it has made in aggressively addressing per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) at the national level as it implements the PFAS Action Plan — the most comprehensive cross-agency plan ever to address an emerging chemical of concern. Just as important as this progress at the federal level, EPA Region 4 has formed partnerships with states, tribes and local communities to address local PFAS challenges across the Southeast.
“With federal technical assistance efforts underway across the country, the administration is bringing much-needed support to state, tribal and local governments as part of the agency’s unprecedented efforts under the PFAS Action Plan,” EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler said. “These partnerships allow for collaboration, encourage cutting-edge research, and information sharing -- ensuring that our joint efforts are effective and protective of public health.”
“PFAS is a priority for EPA both nationally and across the Southeast,” EPA Region 4 Administrator Mary S. Walker said. “From grants, to technical assistance and research, to enforcement – EPA Region 4 is proud to support and partner with states, tribes and local communities to address the myriad challenges that these emerging contaminants pose.”
EPA Region 4 continues to provide technical assistance to states to detect and remove PFAS in drinking water. This includes assisting the states of Alabama, Florida, Georgia, North Carolina and South Carolina in addressing instances of elevated levels of PFAS found in some drinking water systems and/or private wells. EPA has assisted several states and local water departments in evaluating drinking water treatment options.
In addition, EPA has invested $984,000 in Public Water System Supervision supplemental grants across the eight Southeastern states and one tribal organization to support drinking water protection efforts related to PFAS and other emerging contaminants. Projects range from sampling freshwater sources and drinking water systems, especially those near known or suspected sources of PFAS, to purchasing equipment. This includes sampling of more than 280 drinking water systems in Alabama and 114 drinking water systems in Georgia for PFAS and other emerging contaminants.
EPA Region 4’s laboratory, based in Athens, routinely helps states – including Alabama, Georgia and South Carolina – in collecting and analyzing PFAS samples. Further, regional laboratory staff are working with experts throughout the agency to develop better ways to test for PFAS in water samples. This work is a priority for EPA, and the team is on track to make a new method (EPA Method 8327) available to utilities, labs and the public by Sept. 30.