Regulatory Compliance Alert: New Ground Water Quality Standards For PFOA And PFOS Impacts Site Remediation

Yesterday, NJDEP proposed to establish specific ground water quality standardsfor perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) and perfluorooctanesulfonic acid (PFOS). The DEP reported New Jersey is the first in the nation to set drinking water standards for these chemicals, attractive and profitable for many commercial/industrial applications but linked to various health problems and extremely persistent in the environment.

These new rules set forth maximum contaminant levels of 14 parts per trillion (ppt) for PFOA and 13 ppt for PFOS, which will serve as the formal ground water quality standards for site remediation activities and discharges to ground water. The publication of the rule proposal starts a 60-day public comment period, including a public hearing on May 15. The standards will become effective after the DEP reviews comments and adopts the final rule.

Impacts to Remediation:

  • ALL remediation sites must be evaluated for the potential that PFOA and/or PFOS may have been manufactured, used, handled, stored, disposed or discharged at the site or area of concern.
  • Positive results require that the site to undergo an investigation for ground water pursuant to N.J.A.C. 7:26E-3.3
  • These requirements apply to ALL site remediation sites, including sites subject to the May 7, 2014 statutory timeframe to complete the remedial investigation and for which the regulatory timeframe to complete the remedial action is May 7, 2019. 
This  follows a recent directive the DEP issued on March 25, 2019 involving companies whose use and discharge of these chemicals (DuPont and its related companies, 3M and Solvay) impact drinking water, ground water, surface water, soil and/or aquatic sediments and fish. 
For more information on these interim specific ground water quality standards, visit NJDEP’s Division of Waste Monitoring and Standards page:  
For more information on the impact to remediation standards, visit:
EWMA’s LSRPs are experts in groundwater remediation. For more information about these chemicals and the impacts these standards pose on your past and current remediation projects, call Al Moffit at (973)560-1400 x144 or email him at

Author: Al Moffit, PG, CPG, LSRP, Vice President, EWMA

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