In 2016, the US Environmental Protection Agency issued a Drinking Water Health Advisory for perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS).PFAS “are a group of man-made chemicals that includes PFOA, PFOS, GenX, and many other chemicals…There is evidence that exposure to PFAS can lead to adverse human health effects.”

PFAS contamination may be in drinking water, food, indoor dust, consumer products, and workplaces. Although some types of PFAS are no longer used, some products may still contain PFAS, such as food packaging materials, nonstick cookware, stain resistant carpet treatments, water resistant clothing, and cleaning products, among others. 

What are the health risks?

Contaminants in drinking water can affect growth, learning, and behavior of infants and older children • Lowers a woman’s chance of getting pregnant • Interferes with the body’s natural hormones • Increases cholesterol levels Affects the immune system • Increases the risk of cancer

Why should industry professionals in Rhode Island care about this?

In October of 2017, RIDEM adopted 70 parts per trillion as the groundwater quality standard for PFOA, PFOS or a combination of PFOA and PFOS where the groundwater is classified GAA or GA. 

The potential to impact clients through:
  1. Siting Prohibitions and Setbacks
  2. Absolute prohibitions in GAA and GA Areas
  3. Revised setbacks from public and private wells
  4. Revised Design and Performance Standards
  5. Construction standards
  6. Treatment standards
Expected impacts to the following programs:
  1. Underground Storage Tanks
  2. Onsite Wastewater Treatment Systems
  3. Groundwater Discharge Rules (non-sanitary waste, including stormwater)
  4. Solid and Hazardous Waste Disposal
  5. Wastewater Treatment Facility Sludge Disposal
  6. Dredge Material Disposal
  7. Groundwater Remediation

For more information about contaminants in drinking water, call us at 401.477.0023 or email:

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