EPA Identifies Drinking Water Contaminants for Potential Regulation

July 13, 2021

PFAS are proposed as a group, except for PFOA and PFOS, as the agency has already moved ahead with national primary drinking water standards for these two contaminants. 

The U.S. EPA announced Draft Contaminant Candidate List 5 (CCL 5), which provides an updated list of drinking water contaminants known or anticipated to occur in public water systems and that are not currently under any EPA drinking water regulations. 

According to the EPA news release, as directed by the Safe Drinking Water Act, EPA’s CCL 5 aims to compile a list of priority contaminants to consider for potential regulation.

“This important step will help ensure that communities across the nation have safe water by improving EPA’s understanding of contaminants in drinking water,” said EPA Assistant Administrator for Water Radhika Fox in the news release. “On per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), the agency is working with the scientific community to prioritize the assessment and regulatory evaluation of all chemicals as contaminants.”

The Draft CCL 5 includes 66 individual chemicals, 12 microbes, and three chemical groups: PFAS, cyanotoxins, and disinfection byproducts (DBPs) as contaminants of concern for drinking water, according to EPA. 

Additionally, PFAS are proposed as a group, except for PFOA and PFOS considering the agency has already moved ahead with national primary drinking water standards for these two contaminants. 

According to EPA, CCL 5 was developed under a process that includes: new approaches to rapidly screen a larger number of contaminants; prioritizing data most relevant to drinking water exposure and public health concern; and heightened consideration for sensitive populations including children. 

EPA aims to collect data and encourage further research on the listed contaminants before making definitive regulatory determinations.

EPA will consult with the Science Advisory Board (SAB) on the Draft CCL 5 fall of 2021, reported EPA in the news release. EPA is also seeking comment on the Draft CCL 5 for 60 days after this action is published in the Federal Register. The final CCL 5 is expected to be published in July 2022. Thereafter, the agency will undertake a separate regulatory determination process to determine whether or not to regulate contaminants from the CCL.

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Cristina Tuser

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