Congressional lawmakers this month are making a renewed effort to crack down on PFAS chemicals in U.S. waterways with the reintroduction of a bill that would have those substances apply to the Clean Water Act.
The bill, backed by U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand and Rep. Antonio Delgado, was first proposed as multiple upstate New York communities faced water contamination issues stemming from PFAS pollution.
The bill addresses the lack of Environmental Protection Agency rules limiting how much PFAS chemicals can be discharged, and have the chemicals be regulated under existing clean water law.
“Across New York State, and in almost every state across the country, communities have had their water supplies needlessly polluted by toxic PFAS chemicals,” Gillibrand said. “By developing effluent limitations guidelines and clear standards for all measurable PFAS, we can stop PFAS at the source and prevent contamination of our drinking water."
The measure would require federal environmental regulators to develop water quality rules under the Clean Water Act for measurable PFAS classes within two years and develop effluent limitations guidelines and standards.
The bill would also identify nine priority industries the EPA would be required to establish standards for, such as organic chemicals, plastics and synthetic fibers, pulp and paper, textile mills, metal finishing and leather tanning, among others.
"Hoosick Falls, Petersburgh, and other communities across New York's 19th Congressional District have faced unacceptable challenges with PFAS pollution. Congress must do more to address PFAS exposure," Delgado said. "The Clean Water Standards for PFAS Act creates wastewater quality standards that will safeguard the health of upstate families.''