As part of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) aggressive efforts under the PFAS Action Plan, the agency is releasing new interim guidance on destroying and disposing of certain PFAS and PFAS-containing materials for public comment.
Specifically, the new interim guidance outlines the current state of the science on techniques and treatments that may be used to destroy or dispose of PFAS and PFAS-containing materials from non-consumer products, including aqueous film-forming foam for firefighting.
The interim guidance assembles and consolidates information in a single document that generally describes thermal treatment, landfill and underground injection technologies that may be effective in the destruction or disposal of PFAS and PFAS-containing materials. To help ensure informed decision-making, the technology-specific information describes uncertainties and how those uncertainties should be weighed given situation-specific factors, such as the waste’s physical phase (liquid, solid, gas).
EPA’s ongoing research and development is leveraging in-house expertise and external partnerships to help address the knowledge gaps identified in the draft interim guidance. Additionally, there are many current research efforts being coordinated across the federal government to help address PFAS destruction. EPA will incorporate this increased knowledge into future versions of this guidance to help decision-makers choose the most appropriate PFAS disposal options for their particular circumstances.
As required by the FY20 NDAA, the interim guidance addresses PFAS and PFAS-containing materials including:
- Aqueous film-forming foam (for firefighting).
- Soil and biosolids.
- Textiles, other than consumer goods, treated with PFAS.
- Spent filters, membranes, resins, granular carbon, and other waste from water treatment.
- Landfill leachate containing PFAS.
- Solid, liquid, or gas waste streams containing PFAS from facilities manufacturing or using PFAS.
The interim guidance is not intended to address destruction and disposal of PFAS-containing consumer products, such as non-stick cookware and water-resistant clothing.
The agency is also providing guidance on testing and monitoring air, effluent, and soil for releases near potential destruction or disposal sites. EPA’s interim guidance captures the significant information gaps associated with PFAS testing and monitoring and identifies specific research needs to address the FY20 NDAA requirements.
EPA will accept comments on the Interim Guidance for 60 days following publication in the Federal Register. For more information, please see www.epa.gov/pfas. EPA will then consider and incorporate comments, as appropriate, into a revised document. EPA will also review and revise the interim guidance, as appropriate, or at least once every 3 years.
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Author: Howard Boorse