04 June 2020

New Jersey Implements Strict PFAS Water Quality Standards

On June 1, the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection promulgated water quality standards for perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) and perfluorooctane sulfonic acid (PFOS) at levels of 14 and 13 parts per trillion (ppt), respectively. Compared with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) current federal advisory level of 70 ppt, New Jersey’s limits are some of the most stringent in the country. As a result of the new standards, all public water systems in New Jersey must soon begin monitoring for PFOA and PFOS and take protective measures should PFOA/PFOS levels exceed these limits. These limits will also govern ongoing cleanup work at contaminated sites throughout the state. New Jersey’s new regulations are codified here.

New Jersey is following a similar effort by New Hampshire, which established limits for PFOA and PFOS at 12 and 15 ppt, respectively. However, a New Hampshire state court granted an injunction temporarily blocking these standards late last year based on procedural challenges after finding that the state failed to adequately consider the associated costs and benefits. As a result, implementation is stalled pending a decision by the New Hampshire Supreme Court.

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