Article | March 2, 2023

Considerations Before Treating PFAS

By John Sherbondy

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Current regulations for monitoring and treating per- and polyfluorinated substances (PFAS) are chaotic and inconsistent. In June 2022, the U.S. EPA set new advisory limits on perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) and perfluorooctanesulfonic acid (PFOS), two chemicals in the PFAS family, at 0.004 ppt and 0.02 ppt, respectively. While no treatment limit yet exists at the federal level, the low advisory limit has put many water treatment plants (WTPs) in a bind. Should they start treating PFAS now or wait until it is mandated? If they start now, what maximum contaminant level (MCL) should they target?

For some WTPs, it may seem more worthwhile to buy water from a new source than to attempt to treat PFAS. But is that really a more viable option? To answer that, WTPs needs to examine the challenges and benefits of both options, as well as consider how future testing and regulations may affect the decision.

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