House Passes PFAS Legislation with Delgado-backed Wastewater Protections

January 10, 2020
Press Release
Delgado Successfully Amends Legislation to Include His Bipartisan PFAS Transparency Act

WASHINGTON, DC — Today, U.S. Representative Antonio Delgado (NY-19) joined a bipartisan coalition in voting to pass the PFAS Action Act to address PFAS contamination across the country. This legislation will require the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to set a maximum contaminant level for PFOA and PFOS in drinking water, establish a grant program to help communities pay to remove PFAS from drinking water, and designate PFOA and PFOS chemicals as hazardous materials under the EPA’s Superfund program. It will also require drinking water utilities to monitor for PFAS as part of the EPA’s unregulated contaminant monitoring program.

During consideration on the House floor, Rep. Delgado successfully amended the bipartisan PFAS Action Act to include additional protections to keep municipal water systems safe from PFAS chemicals. Rep. Delgado amended the bill to include his PFAS Transparency Act, which makes it illegal for any industrial facility to introduce PFAS into a sewage treatment system without first disclosing information about that substance. Below is a video and transcript of Rep. Delgado’s remarks on the House floor urging bipartisan support for his amendment.

Click here to watch Rep. Delgado’s full remarks.

“Thank you, Madam Speaker. Today, I am pleased to offer this bipartisan amendment to strengthen this legislation aimed at addressing PFAS contamination in our communities.

“Right now, communities in upstate New York continue to struggle with the impacts of PFAS contamination in drinking water. Residents of Hoosick Falls and Petersburgh in Rensselaer County are living every day with the impacts of PFAS contamination—which we know include thyroid disease, birth defects, autoimmune disorders, and cancer.

“Last year, Emily Marpe, who now lives with her family in Hoosick Falls, testified before the Energy and Commerce Committee about her experiences with contaminated water in her home in Petersburgh, New York.

“Emily spoke about her experiences of being unable to drink the water from her faucet, having to sell her home, and then test her blood—as well as the blood of her children—for PFOA. What Emily described is all too common in my district and is representative of the experiences of communities across the country. This is why PFAS has been a priority of mine, and so many in this chamber on both sides of the aisle.

“The PFAS Action Act is a critically important bill. My bipartisan amendment will strengthen this legislation and address another element of this crisis: indirect discharges.  My amendment, which pulls from 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. 

“Right now, right now companies can tap into our public wastewater infrastructure and introduce PFAS into our sewage systems – regardless of the local treatment plant’s ability to effectively treat the contamination.  Most municipal water treatment plants are not equipped to effectively treat for PFAS contamination, which makes indirect discharges extremely hazardous, particularly when not disclosed. The PFAS Transparency Act establishes a commonsense requirement that industrial facilities disclose this information to treatment systems beforehand—meaning more transparency and accountability for our communities.

“I’d like to take this moment to recognize my co-leads on this measure, Reps. Chris Pappas and Harley Rouda. We introduced this PFAS Transparency Act alongside the bipartisan Clean Water Standards for PFAS Act of 2020 which would require the EPA to review PFAS discharges under the Clean Water Act and issue regulations to address harmful discharges of PFAS into our nation’s waterways.   

“These bills, together, take important steps to increase our understanding of PFAS in wastewater and address harmful discharges in our water system – both direct and indirect. I urge this House to stand with our communities facing unthinkable consequences of PFAS contamination. Thank you. I urge a YES vote on this amendment, and I reserve the balance of my time.”