States take new PFAS policy steps as waste industry awaits federal guidelines

June 6, 2022

Read the full article by Megan Quinn (Waste Drive)

"As the waste industry awaits new federal guidance, states are developing regulations and laws on how to manage PFAS in everything from packaging to clothing to biosolids. The question for waste companies is how these decisions could affect daily facility operations down the line.

The U.S. EPA is not expected to develop standards for certain per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances until next year, but the waste industry has asked Congress to grant MSW landfills a narrow exemption from liability if certain PFAS eventually are designated as hazardous substances under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act, or CERCLA. 

In May, the National Waste & Recycling Association and the Solid Waste Association of North America submitted a joint letter to the Senate environment and public works committee, arguing that CERCLA regulation could have unintended consequences, such as forcing landfills to restrict PFAS-containing waste; could raise the costs for managing the material; or could force landfills to pay litigation costs in PFAS-related lawsuits. MSW landfills are passive recipients of PFAS-containing items, and they do not otherwise manufacture or use PFAS, thus they should not have to be liable for PFAS contamination issues as they consider themselves “part of the long-term solution to managing these compounds,” the letter stated."