On April 28, 2022, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Office of Water released a memo addressing the use of National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permits to restrict per- and poly-fluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) discharges to water bodies. These changes will affect EPA-issued NPDES permits and Industrial Users (IUs) where EPA is the pretreatment control authority. This action is in line with the EPA’s PFAS Strategic Roadmap released in October 2021.
Concurrently, EPA’s Office of Water is working on revised Effluent Limitation Guidelines (ELGs), and this action will allow them to collect additional data to aid in the ELG development.
Implications for IUs NPDES:
- Quarterly effluent monitoring using draft analytical method 1633 for 40 different PFAS
- Reporting of the quarterly effluent data on Discharge Monitoring Reports (DMRs)
- Additional Best Management Practices (BMPs) including, but not limited to, product elimination/substitution, equipment decontamination or replacement
- BMP special conditions such as facility evaluation of current or historical use of PFAS
- Annual reporting (through NetDMR tool) on efforts to reduce/eliminate PFAS
- BMPs in stormwater permits prohibiting use of Aqueous Film-Forming Foam (AFFF) for activities other than actual firefighting
- Requirements for immediate cleanup and diversions to prevent discharges
Implications for Publicly Owned Treatment Works (POTWs):
- Quarterly effluent, influent and biosolids monitoring using draft analytical method 16331 for 40 different PFAS
- Addition of local limits in the form of BMPs (similar to those for IU permit holders above)
EPA will also provide additional public notice to potentially affected downstream intakes at Public Water Systems (PWS).
EPA Administered Programs
|Federal Facilities NPDES
|Tribal Lands NPDES
|X (limited #)
Illinois is not authorized to administer pretreatment or sludge application
Indiana and EPA administer pretreatment permits cooperatively
What Can You Do to Prepare?
- If you have a facility with a NPDES permit in New Mexico, Massachusetts, New Hampshire or Washington D.C., you can prepare for the new NPDES permit requirements by:
- Evaluating product elimination/substitution
- Identifying past spills or releases and AFFF usage
- Reviewing/revising BMPs
- Manage the issue by developing a plan for enhanced PFAS management including a response to agency information requests, sampling, storage, disposal options, etc.
- If your facility falls into EPA jurisdiction for the remaining states above, as a federal facility or a facility on tribal lands, the same recommendations apply
 Draft Adsorbable Organic Fluorine CWA wastewater method 1621 can be used in conjunction with draft method 1633, if appropriate
- Memorandum: Addressing PFAS Discharges in EPA-Issued NPDES Permits and Expectations Where EPA is the Pretreatment Control Authority
For more information, please contact: Cat Smith, REM; email@example.com.