By Paul J. Sniadecki, MLSA Board Director

On June 25, 2024, the national Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) proposed rule on PFAS (also know as forever chemicals) in public water systems became final.

While many Michigan riparians are on well water, the new standards highlight the importance of monitoring all water for the presence of PFAS. A report from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) outlines a host of health effects associated with PFAS exposure, including cancer, liver

damage, decreased fertility, and increased risk of asthma and thyroid disease.

The EPA rule requires public water systems to monitor for six PFAS chemicals, giving them three years to complete the initial monitoring by 2027.  Water systems also must provide the public with information on those levels starting in 2027, and they have until 2029 to implement solutions to reduce PFAS levels if they exceed the federal standards.

In the past, the standard was 70 parts per trillion (ppt) for drinking water. The new rule reduces that to 4 ppt. As reference, one (1) ppt is roughly equivalent to 1 grain of sand in an Olympic-size swimming pool.

The EPA notes that it issued this rule after reviewing extensive research and science on how PFAS affects public health. It also considered approximately 120,000 comments on the proposed rule from a wide variety of stakeholders.

However, the recent June 28, 2024 Supreme Court decision in LOPER BRIGHT ENTERPRISES ET AL. v. RAIMONDO, SECRETARY OF COMMERCE, ET AL, could enable future challenges to this new rule. Legal experts claim the LOPER decision eliminates the “Chevron Doctrine” and weakens governmental agencies ability to establish standards.

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