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EPA's latest proposed rule eliminates PFAS reporting exemption

EPA's latest proposed rule eliminates PFAS reporting exemption

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released a much-anticipated proposed rule in December 2022 that would eliminate an exemption related to Toxic Release Inventory (TRI) reporting for certain per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS). The substances in question were originally required to be reported in the TRI by the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) of 2019. The exemption, known as a de minimis threshold, has thus far allowed many facilities to avoid reporting PFAS information due to the low volumes and concentrations at which PFAS are often released into the environment.

When the 2019 NDAA added approximately 170 PFAS to the list of chemicals subject to annual release reporting, it established a 100-pound reporting threshold for facilities that manufacture, process, and otherwise use the in-scope chemicals to report PFAS releases in their TRI report. During the first reporting year (RY 2020), only 63 facilities across the United States reported having PFAS releases that met or exceeded the reporting criteria.  

The EPA identified numerous industries potentially impacted by the proposed rule . . .

It is worth noting that this proposal would also make the de minimis exemption unavailable for purposes of supplier notification requirements to downstream facilities (e.g., TRI chemical component information listed on Safety Data Sheets) for all substances on the list of chemicals of special concern. These would include PFAS and certain persistent, bioaccumulative, and toxic chemicals such as lead, mercury, and dioxins.

The EPA identified numerous industries potentially impacted by the proposed rule, including the pulp and paper, textile, petroleum, plastic, chemical, medical instrument manufacturing, coal mining, electric utilities, and petroleum bulk terminals and plants industries. If finalized as proposed, the likely result will be a significant increase in the number of facilities that are required to include releases of PFAS in their TRI reports.

Companies and organizations potentially impacted by this proposed rule have until February 3, 2023, to submit comments to the EPA.

For additional information, contact our team of PFAS experts.

About the author

Adam Driscoll, vice president, senior environmental engineer, has more than 15 years of experience with environmental permitting and compliance, primarily involving petroleum refining, mining, power generation, and manufacturing. He spent three of those years working for a global manufacturing corporation, where he acquired critical experience with environmental permitting, led cross-functional EHS audits, and negotiated issues of noncompliance with regulatory agencies. Adam serves as leader for Barr’s PFAS service offerings, monitoring pertinent regulatory updates to inform clients of significant changes and how they apply to them. Adam has also assisted clients in negotiating conditions related to PFAS emissions into Title V air quality permits.

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