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Rapid Fire Updates - April 2019

EPA: The Clean Water Act Does Not Apply to Groundwater

On April 15, 2019, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued an “Interpretive Statement” taking the position that the Clean Water Act’s permitting requirements do not apply to discharges to groundwater. Although this statement does not apply where federal appeals courts have held that the Clean Water Act does apply to groundwater, the Court of Appeal for the First Circuit (in which Massachusetts is located) has made no such ruling.

MassDEP Proposed Waste Site Cleanup Regulations Include a Lower Standard for PFAS Compounds in Groundwater

On April 19, 2019, the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection issued draft revisions to its hazardous waste site cleanup regulations at 310 CMR 40.0000, known as the “Massachusetts Contingency Plan” (MCP). Of particular relevance to public drinking water suppliers is a new proposed cleanup standard for per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) in groundwater within a drinking water source area (classified as “GW-1” under the MCP). MassDEP is proposing a standard of 20 parts per trillion (ppt), a reduction from its current guideline of 70 ppt. MassDEP has stated that comments on the proposed MCP PFAS standard will be shared with the MassDEP Drinking Water Program to inform its work on developing a drinking water standard for PFAS.

For more information on PFAS and drinking water, see MassDEP’s web page on its development of a PFAS drinking water maximum contaminant level (MCL).


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