Delgado Leads Colleagues in Introducing Bipartisan Legislation to Increase Transparency of PFAS Contamination in Waterways and Water Treatment Systems

January 7, 2020
Press Release
Bills Would Regulate and Require Disclosure of PFAS Discharges by Industrial Facilities

WASHINGTON, DC—Today, U.S. Representatives Antonio Delgado (NY-19), Chris Pappas (NH-01), and Harley Rouda (CA-48) announced the introduction of two bipartisan bills to address discharges of toxic PFAS chemicals in waterways and water treatment systems. The PFAS Transparency Act would prohibit indirect discharges of industrial PFAS into wastewater treatment systems unless the treatment plant operator is given advance notice. The Clean Water Standards for PFAS Act of 2020 would add PFAS to the Clean Water Act’s Toxic Pollutants List, allowing the EPA to regulate its release in water systems.

“Hoosick Falls and Petersburgh continue to live with the effects of PFAS contamination and Congress must do more to address PFAS exposure in communities across the country. Today, I’m announcing bipartisan legislation that takes long overdue steps to increase transparency and accountability from companies using PFOAs and PFOS chemicals. These bills will require companies to disclose the discharge of PFAS into water treatment systems and create wastewater quality standards for certain PFAS substances,” said Rep. Delgado. “Addressing PFAS contamination continues to be a top priority, and I urge my colleagues to move both bills as soon as possible.”

“While states like New Hampshire are working diligently to address PFAS contamination, it is time the federal government acts to protect our families and our environment from these chemicals,” said Rep. Pappas. “I thank Representatives Delgado and Rouda for joining me to introduce legislation that will ensure the EPA creates standards for PFAS under the Clean Water Act and provides assistance to local facilities to meet these new requirements. There is nothing more important than the health and safety of our communities, and I will continue to work with colleagues to realize the action that our constituents deserve.”

“Millions of Americans have been unwittingly exposed to toxic PFAS chemicals for decades. These bipartisan bills address both the role of polluters and the need for critical standards that protect public health and the environment. I am committed to holding industry accountable for their role in this contamination crisis and working to ensure affected communities and water systems are equipped with the knowledge and resources to address a problem they did not create. We cannot wait to act - lives are at risk,” said Rep. Rouda.

The legislative package introduced by Reps. Delgado, Pappas, and Rouda aims to increase transparency for water contamination to keep communities safe. The PFAS Transparency Act would make it illegal for an industrial facility to introduce PFAS into a sewage treatment system without first disclosing information about that substance. This would address the issue of indirect discharges – or facilities that tap into a pipe that runs to a wastewater treatment system. Most municipal water treatment plants are not equipped to effectively treat for PFAS contamination, making indirect discharges extremely hazardous, particularly when not disclosed. The PFAS Transparency Act simply requires that industrial facilities disclose this information to treatment systems beforehand.

The Clean Water Standards for PFAS Act of 2020 would require EPA to review PFAS discharges under the Clean Water Act and issue regulations to address harmful discharges of PFAS into our nation’s waterways.  It also requires EPA to hold polluters accountable by ensuring that they are not sending harmful PFAS directly to our publicly owned treatment works. Furthermore, it authorizes a grant program to assist publicly owned works in the overseeing of industrial source polluter compliance relating to the requirements of these new regulations.