Public Hearings on Proposal to Add PFAS to Environmental Cleanup Regulations Canceled to Mitigate COVID-19 Spread




Neil Shader, DEP



Public Hearings on Proposal to Add PFAS to Environmental Cleanup Regulations Canceled to Mitigate COVID-19 Spread

Interested individuals invited to submit written comments

Harrisburg, PA – To prevent the possible spread of COVID-19, the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) has canceled three public hearings to gather public input on proposed rulemaking that would amend state regulation to establish groundwater and soil cleanup standards for per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) at contaminated properties. The hearings had been advertised in the Pennsylvania Bulletin, but to date, DEP had only received one attendee registration.

Interested individuals are invited to instead submit written comments, suggestions, support, or objections regarding this proposed rulemaking to the board, which must be received by April 30, 2020 11:59 PM. Written comments should be mailed to the Environmental Quality Board, P.O. Box 8477, Harrisburg, PA 17105-8477. Express mail should be sent to the Environmental Quality Board, Rachel Carson State Office Building, 16th Floor, 400 Market Street, Harrisburg, PA 17101-2301. Comments may also be submitted online at or via email at [email protected] (a subject heading of this proposed rulemaking and a return name and address must be included).

The proposed rulemaking amends Title 25, Chapter 250 (Administration of the Land Recycling Program) of the Pennsylvania Code, which encourages the voluntary cleanup and reuse of contaminated commercial and industrial sites, to add soil and groundwater medium specific concentrations (MSC) for three PFAS compounds – PFBS, PFOS and PFOA. The proposal would use the federal Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Health Advisory Level of 70 ppt for PFOS and PFOA as groundwater MSCs and would use data and calculations developed by EPA for PFOS and PFOA to calculate soils MSCs.

This proposal was included as a recommendation by the PFAS Action Team, which was established by Governor Tom Wolf through an executive order to comprehensively address this emerging environmental issue. These manmade chemicals, which are resistant to heat, water and oil, persist in the environment and the human body. They can be found in common items like cookware, carpets, fabrics and more, as well as firefighting foams.

The proposed rulemaking also changes the direct contact MSCs for lead in soil at both residential and non-residential properties. As a result of these changes, the residential statewide health standard in soil will decrease from 450 parts per million (ppm) to 420 ppm. The non-residential statewide health standard of 450 ppm will remain unchanged.