Fitzpatrick bill authorizes massive federal support to fight PFAS

U.S. Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA) on April 18 unveiled a bipartisan, bicameral bill that would authorize $1 billion overall to help publicly owned water treatment works address per-and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) contamination for fiscal years 2024 through 2028, and would approve $12 million for each of those fiscal years to help the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) implement the bill.

“Congress must do everything it can to set and enforce criteria to keep PFAS chemicals out of Americans’ drinking water,” said Rep. Fitzpatrick, co-chair of the Congressional PFAS Task Force, who said the measure will “improve water quality, prevent the leakage of these ‘forever chemicals,’ and ensure that our drinking water will be safe for every generation to come.”

Rep. Fitzpatrick is the lead original cosponsor of the Clean Water Standards for PFAS Act, H.R. 8076, which is sponsored by U.S. Rep. Chris Pappas (D-NH). U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) sponsored the same-named S. 4173 in her chamber.

If enacted, the bill also would require the EPA to develop water criteria for PFAS under the Clean Water Act for all measurable PFAS, or classes of PFAS, within three years. The measure also would require the EPA to establish effluent limitations guidelines (ELGs) and standards for eight priority industry categories for all measurable PFAS within three years, according to a bill summary provided by the lawmakers.

Additionally, the proposed legislation would require the EPA to immediately establish PFAS monitoring requirements by Dec. 31, 2025, for three additional industry categories (Pulp, Paper, and Paperboard; Airports; and Electrical and Electronic Components) and determine whether ELG standards are needed for these industries, the summary says.

“Access to clean water and healthy environments is an essential right that all Americans deserve, yet is actively under threat due to the PFAS contamination crisis,” Sen. Gillibrand said. “The Clean Water Standards for PFAS Act would finally address these harmful industrial discharges and complement EPA’s recently announced first-ever national drinking water standard for PFAS.”

The Environmental Working Group and the National Association of Clean Water Agencies endorsed the bill.