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EPA Bills Proposal Would Protect Utilities From Superfund PFAS Liability

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) proposed listing certain perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl compounds as hazardous substances under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act in September 2022. This law governs the federal contamination remediation program commonly known as Superfund.

Several Bills were introduced in May by Senator Cynthia Lummis of Wyoming that would protect drinking water, wastewater treatment, solid waste, recycling, and compost facilities, as well as agricultural producers, from CERCLA liability pertaining to PFAS.

According to the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE), on September 6, the EPA proposed to designate two common types of PFAS — perfluorooctanoic acid and perfluorooctanesulfonic acid — as hazardous substances under CERCLA. In its proposed rule, the EPA noted that exposure to these, known by their acronyms PFOA and PFOS, “can lead to adverse human health effects, including high cholesterol, changes in liver enzymes, decreased immune response to vaccination, thyroid disorders, pregnancy-induced hypertension and preeclampsia, and cancer (testicular and kidney cancer for PFOA, liver and thyroid cancer for PFOS).”

If finalized, the rule would enable the EPA to administer Superfund cleanups of sites contaminated with PFOA or PFOS.

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