ERG recently supported the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in its first-ever Clean Water Act enforcement action to address discharges of per-and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS). PFAS are present in the environment in surface water, groundwater, soil, and air, and exposure to them may have harmful health effects in humans and animals. For instance, PFAS have been linked to reproductive effects, developmental delays, and increased cancer risks. To address these concerns, EPA regulates PFAS releases into the environment. ERG supported EPA’s investigation into PFAS discharges at the Chemours Company’s Washington Works facility near Parkersburg, West Virginia, by conducting a field inspection, sampling wastewater at various locations throughout the facility, and reviewing permit and compliance documents. ERG also summarized years of discharge monitoring data, identifying instances where the facility exceeded effluent limitations for PFAS set by its National Pollution Discharge Elimination System permit. Following the investigation, EPA issued an enforcement action ordering the company to take corrective measures to address the issues identified.
ERG’s work directly supported this enforcement action, which requires Chemours to further characterize the extent of PFAS in the discharges from the Washington Works facility and implement a plan to treat or minimize these PFAS discharges. ERG has—and continues to—help EPA investigate PFAS discharges at additional companies and facilities in support of EPA’s commitment to addressing PFAS releases.