PFAs and Contaminants of Emerging Concern

Recently, you may have heard that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has issued a “strategic roadmap” specifically to address Per- and Polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAs). PFAs are one of many “Contaminants of Emerging Concern” or “CECs” that we anticipate hearing much more about concerning our Public Drinking Water Supply.

PFAs is the generic term for man-made chemicals that are not removed by traditional wastewater or drinking water treatment processes and that can have long-term detrimental health effects. Much like mercury, most PFAs do not degrade in water or soil under normal conditions and therefore are known to be bioaccumulative, especially in aquatic species. Removal of detected PFAs in drinking water is possible with proper treatment methods.

This is a nationwide concern, and the State of Indiana is currently testing public water supplies to determine the extent of PFAs in our drinking water sources. Commonwealth continues to work with both state regulators and the drinking water and wastewater industries, to research technologies for the detection and removal of CECs to protect our public health.

Additional guidance is anticipated in the coming months from both the Federal EPA and the State, Indiana Department of Environmental Management (IDEM), regarding the findings of the testing program as well as future federal contaminant limits that may be created.

Learn more about the PFAS Strategic Roadmap: EPA’s Commitment to Action 2021-2024

Commonwealth Engineers can help your community stay informed and ahead of new requirements. For more information, contact Sarah Wittig, P.E. and Rachel Runge, P.E.