DEC Releases New Guidance to Regulate PFOA, PFOS, and 1,4-Dioxane in State Waters

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Guidance Builds on State’s Nation-Leading Actions to Protect Public Health and the Environment and Regulate Emerging Contaminants

Draft Technical and Operational Guidance Series Available for Public Review and Comment through Nov. 5, 2021

 New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Commissioner Basil Seggos today released new water quality guidance values that will advance the State’s regulation of the emerging contaminants Perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA), Perfluorooctanesulfonic acid (PFOS), and 1,4-Dioxane. DEC established the new guidance values in three draft Technical and Operational Guidance Series (TOGS) documents, which are now available for a 30-day public review and comment period. DEC is accepting comments until Nov. 5, 2021. The new guidance values support the State’s ongoing efforts to safeguard public health, prevent exposure to emerging contaminants, and ensure New Yorkers have access to clean drinking water.

 

Commissioner Seggos said, “New York has been at the forefront of taking actions to reduce human and environmental exposure to emerging contaminants like PFOA, PFOS, and 1,4-Dioxane. Today, DEC is bolstering the strict levels adopted by the Department of Health to protect our drinking water by issuing guidance values for PFOA, PFOS, and 1,4-Dioxane for ground and surface waters. These guidance values will protect the health of our communities and the environment by helping to prevent these emerging contaminants from entering our drinking water supplies.”

The proposed guidance values released today are: (attached)

Set lower than the State’s maximum contaminant levels (MCLs) for PFOA, PFOS, and 1,4-Dioxane, these ambient guidance values protect source waters and provide an extra margin of safety to complement the drinking water MCLs by ensuring they are not exceeded, which could result in costly treatment for the regulated community.

State Department of Health (DOH) Commissioner Dr. Howard Zucker said, “New York State has adopted among the most protective drinking water quality standards and requirements for testing, notification and remediation for emerging contaminants found nationwide. Our research and efforts to safeguard drinking water will be further enhanced by the Department of Environmental Conservation’s move to regulate these compounds at their source, providing even more confidence in the water quality that reaches your tap.”

In July 2020, New York formally adopted among the nation’s lowest maximum contaminant levels (MCLs) for drinking water for PFOA and PFOS at 10 parts per trillion, and the first national standard for 1,4-Dioxane at 1 part per billion. The MCLs were promulgated by the State’s Drinking Water Quality Council, a body of water quality experts and scientists charged with setting limits in absence of federal standards for these emerging chemicals that have been pervasive in drinking water systems nationwide. While the MCLs adopted by the DOH provide protection for finished drinking water, DEC’s proposed guidance values will provide complementary protection of ambient waters used as drinking water sources. These proposed guidance values also provide protection for aquatic life.

DEC encourages public comment on the draft guidance. Written statements may be submitted to NYSDEC, 625 Broadway, 4th Floor, Albany, NY 12233-3500, ATTN: Michelle Tompkins or by email to AWQVinformation@dec.ny.gov. Comments must be submitted by 5 p.m. on Nov. 5, 2021.

 

The full text of the draft TOGS documents and additional information are available on the DEC website at https://www.dec.ny.gov/chemical/122803.html or by contacting by mail: NYSDEC, 625 Broadway, Albany NY 12233-3500, ATTN: Michelle Tompkins, phone by calling (518) 402-8233, e-mail at AWQVinformation@dec.ny.gov.

 

In 2016, New York State established the Water Quality Rapid Response Team, led by DEC and DOH, to quickly investigate water contamination reports across New York and take corrective action to address these contamination issues. This Water Quality Rapid Response Team has taken unprecedented action to investigate and clean up PFAS contamination and to ensure New Yorkers have access to clean water. To support this effort, DEC works with DOH and numerous entities, including local health departments, drinking water providers and authorities, and federal, state, county, and municipal governments to protect and clean up groundwater.

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