On April 10, 2024, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) finalized the National Primary Drinking Water Regulation (NPDWR) concerning six PFAS compounds. The decision was informed by an extensive review of over 120,000 public comments on the proposed rule, as well as input gathered through various consultations and engagements with stakeholders conducted both before and after the proposal. To assist in meeting these new standards, the EPA has committed funding to ensure universal access to clean and safe water. Alongside the final rule, $1 billion has been allocated through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law to aid states and territories in implementing PFAS testing and treatment in public water systems, as well as assisting owners of private wells in addressing PFAS contamination. 

The finalized NPDWR sets legally binding Maximum Contaminant Levels (MCLs) for six PFAS in drinking water: PFOA, PFOS, PFHxS, PFNA, HFPO-DA, and PFAS mixtures containing two or more of PFHxS, PFNA, HFPO-DA, and PFBS, utilizing a Hazard Index MCL to consider the combined and co-occurring levels of these PFAS. Additionally, the EPA has established health-based, non-enforceable Maximum Contaminant Level Goals (MCLGs) for these PFAS. In California, numerous public water systems, ranging from Metropolitan Oakland International Airport and Naval Air Station Alameda in the San Francisco Bay Area to Los Angeles International Airport and Naval Air Station North Island in San Diego County, have detected PFAS contamination. 

Key provisions of the final rule include: 

  • Mandatory monitoring of these PFAS by public water systems within three years (by 2027) and continuous compliance monitoring thereafter. Water systems are also required to disclose information on the levels of these PFAS in drinking water beginning in 2027. 

  • Implementation of solutions by public water systems within five years (by 2029) if monitoring indicates that drinking water levels exceed the established MCLs. 

  • Action requirement for public water systems with PFAS levels violating the MCLs within five years (by 2029), including reducing the levels of these PFAS in drinking water and notifying the public of the violation.