The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is proposing to designate perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) and perfluorooctanesulfonic acid (PFOS), including their salts and structural isomers, as hazardous substances. The proposed rule published in the Federal Register designates two per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (collectively, PFAS) constituents as CERCLA Hazardous Substances. While this is a small subset of PFAS constituents, PFOA and PFOS are reportedly the most commonly used and likely to be detectable. Additional PFAS compounds are certainly on the horizon for consideration by EPA and, in fact, an Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking was issued by EPA in April of 2023 to seek input for seven additional compounds for hazardous substance designation.
What Could This Mean For Property Transactions and Real Estate Development?
When the CERCLA hazardous substance rule becomes final (anticipated in 2023 or 2024), it will be mandatory to consider these PFAS constituents when performing Phase I Environmental Site Assessments (ESAs) to identify Recognized Environmental Conditions (RECs) in connection with a property. Because of the ubiquitous use of PFAS, often called “forever chemicals,” in residential, commercial, and industrial products, some Environmental Professionals are concerned that PFAS-related RECs will be commonplace.
In their recent paper, “How Will EPA’S Proposed CERCLA Hazardous Substance Designation of PFOA and PFOS Impact the Environmental Due Diligence Practice?” Jeff Marshall, PE, and Mike Miller, CHMM, discuss the anticipated impacts of the PFAS rule on environmental due diligence. Depending on the former uses, the number of RECs, and ESA results, some sites are more likely to feel the impact on the potential value of a property.
As our PFAS knowledge continues to evolve, so will applying this knowledge to the environmental due diligence practice and, ultimately, real estate conditions. Read the technical paper to understand the terminology and types of properties more likely at risk.
Jeffrey D. Marshall, PE – Vice-President. Mr. Marshall is a Vice President and the practice leader for the Environmental Services Practice for SCS offices in the mid-Atlantic region. He is also the SCS National Expert for Innovative Technologies and Emerging Contaminants. His diversified background is in project engineering and management, with an emphasis on the environmental chemistry and human health aspects of hazardous materials/waste management, site investigations, waste treatment, risk-based remediation and redevelopment, and environmental compliance/permitting issues. He has over 40 years of environmental experience and directs and manages environmental due diligence projects in the mid-Atlantic. He is a chemical engineer, Professional Engineer (VA, MD, WV, NC, and SC) and meets the credentials of an Environmental Professional.
Michael J. Miller, CHMM – Vice President. Mr. Miller is a Vice President and the practice leader for the Environmental Services Practice for SCS offices in the Central region. He also serves as an SCS National Expert for Environmental Due Diligence. He supports firm operations throughout the United States related to Phase I and II Environmental Site Assessments and the completion of large portfolios and complex site assessments. A Certified Hazardous Materials Manager (CHMM) since 2009, Mike has more than 28 years of experience in environmental management and consulting with an extensive background in RCRA-related matters and industrial compliance, planning, and permitting.
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