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EPA released draft interim guidance April 25 with recommendations for the clean-up of groundwater contaminated with perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) and/or perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS). The guidance, a priority action for EPA based on the agency’s PFAS Action plan, will apply to sites being evaluated and/or addressed under federal cleanup programs, such as the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act and the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act.

The draft provides interim recommendations “for screening levels, and preliminary remediation goals (PRGs) to inform final cleanup levels for PFOA and/or PFOS contamination of groundwater that is a current or potential source of drinking water.” The guidance recommends a screening level, the level at which the contamination may warrant further investigation, of 40 parts per trillion (ppt) and PRGs of 70 ppt. The PRG is in line with EPA’s Lifetime Health Advisory Level (HAL) of a combined concentration of PFOA and PFOS of 70 ppt.

The agency’s recommendations stop short of requiring polluters to cleanup groundwater with PFOA and/or PFOS contamination that exceed that level. Instead, the guidance says that “EPA expects that responsible parties will address levels of PFOA and/or PFOS over 70 ppt.” The document also cautions that determining a site needs more evaluation “does not necessarily indicate that additional response action is appropriate beyond assessing the actual or potential risk posed by releases or threatened releases at the site.”

The agency is taking comment on the draft interim guidance until June 10, 2019 and welcomes comments on any part of the guidance, including EPA’s decision to use the HAL of 70 ppt for the PRG.