Proposed PFAS Drinking Water Regulation
The proposed PFAS (per- and poly-fluoroalkyl substances) Rule was approved by the EQB on November 16, 2021. The proposed rule was published in the PA Bulletin on February 26, 2022 with a 60 day comment period which ends on April 27, 2022.
The proposed rule sets a Maximum Contaminant Level (MCL) of 14 ppt (parts per trillion) for PFOA (perfluorooctanoic acid) and an MCL of 18 ppt for PFOS (perfluorooctane sulfonic acid). EPA’s current health advisory is 70 ppt for PFOA and PFOS in drinking water.
Proposed PFAS Rule in PA Bulletin click here.
DEP press release click here.
PMAA’s comments on DEP’s Pre-draft Proposed Revisions to DEP General Permits PAG-07 and PAG-08 (Biosolids).
Combined Sewer Overflow Proposed Rulemaking
The proposed rulemaking amends the schedules of compliance for combined sewer overflow (CSO) discharges under National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permits. Specifically, Section 92a.51(a) allows CSO dischargers to implement Long Term Control Plans (LTCPs) to continue beyond the 5-year NPDES permit renewal.
EPA has expressed concerns that the DEP’s practice of approving LTCP implementation schedules exceeding 5 years is inconsistent with the existing language in § 92a.51(a) that requires compliance within 5 years. To resolve the inconsistency, this rulemaking proposes to amend § 92a.51(a) to allow the Department to approve NPDES permits for CSO dischargers with compliance schedules beyond the 5-year period currently established in the regulations, but not longer than the implementation period in the discharger’s approved LTCP.
Click here for the proposed rulemaking in the PA Bulletin. Public comment period ended March 1, 2022.
Click here for PMAA’s comments to DEP’s Proposed Combined Sewer Overflow Rulemaking.
January 19, 2022
Amended Phase III Chesapeake Bay Watershed Implementation Plan (WIP) and the Wastewater Sector submitted to EPA
On December 30, 2021, Pennsylvania submitted an Amended Phase III Chesapeake Bay Watershed Implementation Plan (WIP) to EPA. Among other things, this Amended WIP addresses how Pennsylvania intends to close the 9.8 million pound gap in planned nitrogen pollutant reductions needed to meet Pennsylvania’s Chesapeake Bay restoration requirements by 2025 under the Chesapeake Bay TMDL. For PMAA members, it is important to note that Pennsylvania’s Phase III WIP specifically states that, “Pennsylvania’s wastewater sector has greatly reduced its contribution of nitrogen and phosphorous to the state’s waterways. To reduce these pollutants even more would be extremely costly.” Accordingly, the Phase III WIP and its amendment focus primarily on nutrient reductions from sectors other than wastewater. EPA has indicated that it has initiated its review of Pennsylvania’s Amended WIP to determine if the Plan meets Pennsylvania’s commitments to restore downstream waters. However, if the Amended Plan does not meet Pennsylvania’s Chesapeake Bay TMDL 2025 goals, EPA has reiterated its ability to take further federal action, including enhanced oversight of permits and possible enforcement actions. PMAA will be closely monitoring any forthcoming information related to this matter and will provide its members with an update when such information becomes available.
Click here for EPA Press Release
Click here for the amended WIP
In July 2021, DEP’s Public Water System Technical Assistance Center Board (TAC) met on a pre-draft regulation setting a state Maximum Contaminant Level and MCL Goals for PFOA and PFOS in drinking water.
DEP recommended a Maximum Contaminant Level of 14 ppt (parts per trillion) for PFOA and a Maximum Contaminant Level Goal of 8 ppt.
DEP recommended a Maximum Contaminant Level of 18 ppt for PFOS and a Maximum Contaminant Level Goal of 14 ppt.
Pennsylvania’s current health advisory is 70 ppt for PFOA and PFOS in drinking water.
The TAC Board recommended the pre-draft regulation move forward through the regulatory process.
Click here (TAC Board meeting July 29, 2021) for DEP’s presentation and the pre-draft regulation.
Development of Environmental Regulations in Pennsylvania
Municipal authorities, as well as other units of local government, are subject to numerous regulations, which form the basis for a wide variety of permitting, record-keeping and reporting, compliance monitoring and assessment and, in some cases, enforcement activities. Most of these activities center on environmental and public health protection.
All regulations must be reviewed and approved, both as proposed and final rule making, by the Environmental Quality Board (EQB) which normally meets monthly.
Prior to developing or revising a regulation, DEP programs typically discuss such changes with one or more Advisory Committees. PMAA has member representatives on several of DEP’s Advisory Committees.
The entire process by which any DEP regulation is proposed, reviewed and finalized is quite lengthy and complex and is governed by the PA Regulatory Review Act. It is not unusual for this process to take up to two years. The Regulatory Process flowchart outlines the procedure.
On-line access to all state environmental regulations is available at PA Code Online and are listed as various Articles and Chapters under Title 25: Environmental Protection. On-line access to all state environmental regulations being proposed are available at PA Bulletin.
While Pennsylvania’s environmental regulations are numerous and complex, DEP has found it necessary to further clarify the intent of many regulations through development of supplemental technical guidance documents. Like regulations, development of a technical guidance generally involves going through a public participation process (including use of advisory committees).