PFAS Regulation in California - New Drinking Water Notification Levels are Under Development.

The State Water Resources Control Board (SWRCB), Division of Drinking Water (DDW), recently asked the Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA) to develop Notification Level (NL) recommendations for seven PFAS (per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances); legally-enforceable Response Levels (RLs) are expected to follow. The DDW previously set both NLs and RLs for PFOA and PFOS. The SWRCB selected these seven additional PFAS based on their detection in multiple California wells in recent sampling mandated by the SWRCB. The seven PFAS are:

·         perfluorohexane sulfonic acid (PFHxS)
·         perfluorobutane sulfonic acid (PFBS)
·         perfluorohexanoic acid (PFHxA)
·         perfluorononanoic acid (PFNA)
·         perfluoroheptanoic acid (PFHpA)
·         perfluorodecanoic acid (PFDA)
·         4,8-dioxia-3H-perflourononanoic acid (ADONA)

Notification Level Timeline
OEHHA’s timeline for developing NLs for these PFAS is not known. However, if OEHHA follows a timeline similar to that of the PFOA and PFOS NL development, OEHHA’s final recommended NLs for these seven PFAS may take upwards of one year to develop. OEHHA will likely select interim NLs while they derive their own values, with interim NLs established in as little as a few months. While exceedance of NLs does not require public notification, purveyors may feel it necessary to remove a water source from service due to public perception.

Potential Interim Notification Levels
When OEHHA recommended NLs for PFOA and PFOS, they initially identified interim NLs that were based on an existing analysis from the State of New Jersey. It is likely that OEHHA will follow a similar process for these seven PFAS, i.e., selecting drinking water criteria of other states as interim NLs to the extent possible. Below is a range of chronic drinking water values derived by other states for the seven PFAS that OEHHA may consider adopting as interim NLs.

Chemical   Existing State Drinking Water Criteria Range (ppt)
PFHxS 18 (NH) - 51 (MI)
PFBS 420 (MI) - 2,000 (MN)
PFHxA 400,000 (MI)
PFNA 6 (MI) - 13 (NJ)
PFHpA 560 (TX)
PFDA 370 (TX)
ADONA --
                                       Notes
                                             -- = No state value available
                                            red italicized= Drinking water values are not chemical-specific and are unlikely to be considered as interim notification levels by OEHHA

Regulation of PFAS as a Class?
The SWRCB request to OEHHA also provided insight into the possibility of regulating PFAS as a class, and included the following text:
“The State Water Board also requests that OEHHA include consideration of whether some of the PFAS materials should be grouped together when being considered in a regulatory manner and if it is possible to consider them in subclasses based on specific characteristics or features of the materials.”

For additional information, please contact:
Brett R. Winters, PhD                    Linda C. Hall, PhD              Robert Scofield, MPH, D.Env                       
(510) 463-8745                             (510) 463-8491                   (510) 463-8485 
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