The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced on February 1, 2024, two proposed rules that will add to its comprehensive approach to tackling per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) pollution and the commercial bottom line for hundreds of businesses facing costs for cleanup. The first proposed rule would modify the definition of hazardous waste as it applies to cleanups at permitted hazardous waste facilities. EPA states that this modification “would assure that EPA’s regulations clearly reflect EPA’s and authorized states’ authority to require cleanup of the full range of substances that the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) intended, including emerging chemicals of concern, such as PFAS, that may present substantial hazards, at permitted facilities.”
The second proposed rule would amend the RCRA regulations to add multiple PFAS compounds as hazardous constituents. According to EPA, these PFAS “would be added to the list of substances identified for consideration in facility assessments and, where necessary, further investigation and cleanup through the corrective action process at hazardous waste treatment, storage and disposal facilities [TSDF].” EPA will publish the proposed rules “in the next few weeks.” As reported in our October 29, 2021, blog item, then New Mexico Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham (D) petitioned EPA in 2021 to address PFAS under RCRA. In its response to the petition, EPA outlined plans to initiate the rulemaking process for two rulemakings. These proposed rules constitute initiation of those rulemakings. For more information, please read the full memorandum.