EPA Publishes Interim Guidance on Destroying and Disposing of Certain PFAS and PFAS-Containing Materials
By Lynn L. Bergeson and Carla N. Hutton
On December 22, 2020, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced the availability of new interim guidance on destroying and disposing of certain perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) and PFAS-containing materials for public comment. 85 Fed. Reg. 83554. The 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. According to EPA’s December 18, 2020, press release, 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).
As required by the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2020 (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; and
- Solid, liquid, or gas waste streams containing PFAS from facilities manufacturing or using PFAS.
EPA notes that 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. EPA is also providing guidance on testing and monitoring air, effluent, and soil for releases near potential destruction or disposal sites. The interim guidance captures the significant information gaps associated with PFAS testing and monitoring and identifies specific research needs to address the FY20 NDAA requirements. Comments are due February 22, 2021.