News & Insights

EPA Announces New PFAS Regulation and Funding


The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recently announced the finalization of a national standard for per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) in drinking water. This long-awaited regulation sets enforceable limits for several PFAS chemicals, aiming to significantly reduce exposure for millions of Americans.

What are PFAS?

PFAS, also known as “forever chemicals,” are man-made compounds used in various industries for decades. They are highly persistent in the environment and have been linked to various health problems, including cancer, liver disease, and developmental issues in children. Check out this article to learn more about PFAS.

The New Rule

The EPA’s new PFAS Drinking Water rule establishes maximum contaminant levels (MCLs) for five individual PFAS chemicals and a hazard index (HI) for a mixture of four others. Public water systems must now monitor and treat their water to ensure PFAS levels fall below these new standards.

Chemical Maximum Containment Level Goal (MCLG) Maximum Containment Level (MCL)
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10 ppt
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HFPO-DA (GenX chemicals)
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Mixture of two or more: PFNA, PFHxS, HFPO-DA, and PFBS
Hazard Index of 1
Hazard Index of 1
Maximum Containment Level Goal (MCLG): The level of a contaminant in drinking water below which there is no known or expected risk to health. MCLGs allow for a margin of safety and are non-enforceable public health goals.
Maximum Containment Level (MCL): The highest level of a contaminant that is allowed in drinking water. MCLs are set as close to MCLGs as feasible using the best available treatment technology and taking cost into consideration. MCLs are enforceable standards.
ppt: parts per trillion
Hazard Index (HI): The Hazard Index is a long-established approach that EPA regularly uses to understand health risk from a chemical mixture (i.e., exposure to multiple chemicals). The HI is made up of a sum of fractions. Each fraction compares the level of each PFAS measured in the water to the health-based water concentration.

Source: PFAS National Primary Drinking Water Regulation Fact Sheet

What The New Regulation Means for Water Utilities

Complying with the new rule will require action from water utilities, but significant support is available. Here is a breakdown of the key points:

  • Compliance timeline: Water systems have until 2027 to complete initial monitoring and until 2029 to implement treatment solutions if PFAS exceeds the final MCLs.
  • Treatment technologies: Existing technologies like granular activated carbon, reverse osmosis, nanofiltration, and ion exchange can effectively remove PFAS. The rule allows flexibility in choosing the most suitable option for each system.
  • Financial assistance: The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law allocates $9 billion specifically for communities impacted by PFAS contamination. Additionally, there is $1 billion in grant funding for initial testing and treatment, focusing on disadvantaged communities.
  • Technical support: EPA’s Water Technical Assistance Program (WaterTA) offers free support to help communities navigate funding opportunities, develop plans, and build capacity for infrastructure improvements.

How Kimley-Horn Can Help

Kimley-Horn understands the challenges water agencies face in complying with new regulations and managing PFAS contamination. Our team of water treatment experts can assist with:

  • PFAS testing and monitoring: Developing a comprehensive plan to identify and quantify PFAS levels in your water source.
  • Treatment technology selection: Evaluating your specific needs and recommending the most effective and cost-efficient PFAS treatment solutions.
  • Funding assistance: Guiding you through the application process for available grants and infrastructure funding programs.
  • Project management: Providing experienced oversight and management throughout the implementation process.

The City of Stuart Water Treatment project is an example of how to successfully navigate the world of emerging contaminants while balancing sustainability and environmental stewardship. Kimley-Horn’s water treatment specialists creatively evaluated the PFAS removal technology and used their diverse water resource expertise to provide innovative solutions.

A Call to Action for Safe Water

The EPA’s new PFAS regulation is a significant step towards ensuring safe drinking water for all Americans. With the availability of new funding and technical support, water agencies now have the resources they need to tackle this challenge. By working together, we can ensure clean, healthy water for our communities.

Have a question?

Contact Kimley-Horn today to discuss your PFAS treatment needs.