California Wastewater Treatment Plants Subject of State’s New PFAS Initiative

Read the full story in the National Law Review.

In July 2020, the California State Water Resources Control Board (Water Board) issued an extensive 46 page Order that requires publicly owned treatment works (POTWs) in the state to begin sampling for PFAS in a wide variety of waste water forms. While the Order only applies to wastewater treatment plants with a capacity of one million gallons per day or more, the Order nevertheless impacts over 250 POTWs in the state. This is just the latest step that the Water Board has taken to target potential sources of PFAS in the environment (previous efforts by the state focused on airports, landfills, and manufacturing). The Order is one of the most far-reaching of its kind with respect to PFAS, mainly because it requires testing and reporting for 31 different types of PFAS – more than any state has regulated in water sources for PFAS to date. The consequences of the Order will prove to be both short term (increased costs to POTWs to come into compliance) and long term (an increase in litigation and regulatory action), and promise to significantly impact the trajectory of PFAS issues in the state of California.

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