New Jersey Continues to Lead the Regulation of PFAS
September 11, 2018
John F. Gullace and Darryl D. Borrelli
While the Federal Government continues to debate whether and how to regulate per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (“PFAS”), New Jersey continues to lead the charge to regulate these substances. On September 4, 2018, the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (“NJDEP”) “adopted amendments to the New Jersey Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA) rules … to establish … a maximum contaminant level (MCL) for perfluorononanoic acid (PFNA) of 0.013 micrograms per liter (ug/l) … .” (or 13 parts per trillion). The rule requires public water systems to begin monitoring for PFNA during the first quarter of 2019. Industry comments in opposition to the rule questioned both the science behind the conclusion that PFNA poses a human health risk, and the MCL adopted to address any such risk, potentially setting up a challenge to the new rule. Meanwhile, in 2017, NJDEP’s Site Remediation Program launched a webpage dedicated to “Contaminants of Emerging Concern” which requires LSRPs and parties conducting site-wide remediations to evaluate emerging contaminants generally and PFAS in particular. PFNA was added to New Jersey’s Ground Water Quality Standards (“GWQS”) list and New Jersey’s list of Hazardous Substances in January of 2018. On September 4, NJDEP increased the GWQS for PFNA from 0.01 ug/l to 0.013 ug/l to conform with the new MCL for PFNA. While several states, including Pennsylvania, are looking to EPA to provide guidance on the regulation of PFAS, New Jersey continues to blaze its own trail.