CERCLA PFAS Enforcement Update

March 23, 2023

Summary of the CERCLA PFAS Enforcement Session on March 23, 2023.


On March 23, 2023, EPA hosted a live webinar entitled “Listening Session: CERCLA PFAS Enforcement.”  EPA is currently preparing a CERCLA PFAS Enforcement Discretion Policy, and they presented an overview of their current thoughts on the topic.  Following EPA’s 15-minute presentation, live comments from registered speakers (e.g., Anne Germain with National Waste and Recycling Association, Robin Wright with Delaware Solid Waste Authority) were provided.

Continue to submit written comments on CERCLA PFAS Enforcement until Friday, March 31, 2023


SCS’s National Expert on Emerging Contaminants and on Innovative Technologies Jeff Marshall, provides these highlights from EPA’s presentation, delivered by Ken Patterson (EPA Office of Site Remediation Enforcement):

  • The PFAS enforcement discretion policy document is still in development, and a draft version is not available to the public.  The policy will be made public when finalized.
  • The policy will be limited to CERCLA PFAS enforcement and will not cover other environmental programs.
  • EPA’s enforcement discretion will be contingent upon the party’s cooperation.
  • PFAS enforcement will focus on manufacturers, federal facilities, and industrial facilities that have released significant PFAS, resulting in significant public health and environmental impacts.
  • Using EPA’s discretion, this enforcement will NOT focus on the following:
    • Community water utilities
    • Publicly owned treatment works (POTWs)
    • Publicly-owned municipal solid waste landfills, because these LFs may have accepted PFAS-contaminated media (e.g., spent granular activated carbon) from community water utilities and POTWs.   [Note:  this landfill exemption is limited to publicly-owned MSW landfills; it does not include privately owned landfills, or specialty landfills – e.g., construction and demolition waste landfills].
    • Farmers who apply biosolids to their land
    • State, tribal and municipal airports (due to use of AFFF)
    • Tribal and local fire departments (again, due to use of AFFF).

The policy discretion document is still being developed by EPA. The recording of the March 14 and 23, 2023, listening sessions will be posted soon on EPA’s CERCLA PFAS Enforcement Listening Sessions web page.

Follow SCS on your preferred social media site for updates. Please share this update with others whose operations will be impacted.


Additional Resources:

Video: Managing PFAS in Landfill Leachate and Sludge

Solutions: Liquids Management and Sequestration


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Posted by Diane Samuels at 4:24 pm