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NJ Finalizes Drinking Water Standards for Two PFAS Chemicals

Posted on June 12, 2020 by Lauren Scott

On June 1st, the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection published maximum contaminant levels (MCLs) for two perfluoroalkyl substances, PFOA and PFOS.

Starting in 2021, PFOA will have an MCL of 14 parts per trillion (ppt) and PFOS will have an MCL of 13 ppt. Public water systems must begin testing for these contaminants in the first quarter of 2021, and all private wells must be tested prior to any real estate closings starting in December of the same year. If a water system exceeds the MCL, it will be required to take remediation measures.

Get up to speed on the latest updates to the Federal water regulations that impact your facility with Lion’s Clean Water Act & SDWA Regulations online course.

PFAS: A Versatile, Controversial Class of Substances

Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) are a category of over 10,000 chemicals most notably found in fire-retardant foams and food packaging. However, they are also found in many everyday consumer products, such as nonstick cookware and furniture.

PFOS and PFOA are among the most notorious PFAS chemicals. Although production of PFOS and PFOA has been largely phased out in the US, their widespread previous use makes them highly prevalent and pervasive in many drinking water systems throughout the country.

PFAS have been nicknamed “forever chemicals” because they never break down once released into the environment, leaving these chemicals to build up in our blood and organs. Even low doses of PFAS chemicals in drinking water have been linked to an increased risk of cancer, reproductive and immune system harm, liver and thyroid disease, and other health complications.

NJ’s Track Record for PFAS Research

The NJ Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) began studying PFAS as early as 2006. After extensive testing, research, and setbacks along the way, NJ established its first MCL for a PFAS in 2018, PFNA. This made NJ the first and only state in the US to establish an MCL for any PFAS.

NJ now requires water system testing for three PFAS: PFOA, PFOS, and PFNA and requires remediation if MCLs are exceeded.

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The Complete Environmental Regulations online course allows environmental compliance officers to learn the latest updates to Federal environmental regulations at their own pace. This in-depth, online training helps you make the right decisions about EPA compliance.

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