Legislators Assemble! North Carolina and Illinois Move to Enact PFAS Regulations

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So far in 2020, the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality (NC DEQ) proposed a maximum concentration level in groundwater for two PFAS compounds, while the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency released proposed draft amendments to its groundwater standards, including standards for a wide range of PFAS compounds. North Carolina’s and Illinois’ actions join prior efforts at legislation in other states, including Minnesota, New Hampshire, New Jersey, and Vermont.

The NC DEQ is proposing a maximum concentration of 70 parts per trillion (ppt) for PFOS and PFOA combined in groundwater. The state agency has sent the proposal to the North Carolina Environmental Management Commission for approval, but it likely could be a year before any regulations are finalized.

In Illinois, its proposal encompasses groundwater standards for five PFAS compounds, including a groundwater standard of 14 ppt for PFOS and 20 ppt for PFOA. For a combination of both, the proposed maximum is 20 ppt.

For comparison, Minnesota established a health-based value of 35 ppt for PFOA and 27 ppt for PFOS. Vermont passed an enforceable standard of 20 ppt. New Jersey has an interim groundwater standard of 10 ppt for PFOA and PFOS. As the state patchwork continues to flourish, the absence of a federal enforceable standard continues to resemble the Wild West.