We were fortunate to participate in and sponsor the NH Business and Industry Association (NH BIA) / NHDES Air and Water Regulatory Conference this week, where we got to hear updates from various state agencies on the evolution of PFAS regulation.
From the conference and elsewhere, here is an overview of PFAS changes and updates we’ve heard are here or may be coming in New Hampshire.
On July 23, 2020, the Governor of the State of New Hampshire signed HB 1264 into law. With the signing of HB 1264, the legislative and executive branches have officially adopted the Maximum Contaminant Levels (MCLs) and Ambient Groundwater Quality Standards (AGQSs) initially proposed by NHDES in September 2019. Table 600-1 in Env-Or 603.03 (Link) has been updated for four (4) per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS):
- 12 parts per trillion (ppt) for perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA)
- 15 ppt for perfluorooctane sulfonic acid (PFOS)
- 18 ppt for perfluorohexane sulfonic acid (PFHxS) and
- 11 ppt for perfluorononanoic acid (PFNA)
On November 20, 2019, the New Hampshire Environmental Health Program (EHP) released direct contact risk-based (DCRB) soil concentrations for the four (4) PFAS compounds (PFOA, PFOS, PFHxS and PFNA) considered protective of potential exposure in residential (S-1) and maintenance worker (S-2) scenarios. These range from 0.1 to 1.3 milligrams per kilogram (mg/kg) depending on the individual PFAS compound/scenario and provided an update to previously developed DCRB soil screening levels of 500 nanograms/gram (ng/g, equivalent to 0.5 mg/kg) for PFOA and PFOS. DCRB PFAS soil concentrations account for exposure that may result from incidental ingestion and dermal contact with impacted soil and can be found at this Link.
It is important to point out that the DCRBs are not leaching based soil standards and are not likely indicative of soil concentrations that would be protective of drinking water sources.
In addition, although there are no published guidelines now, NHDES is reportedly working on an official Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) which will apply to construction projects on sites that fall within areas of the state impacted by aerial deposition. Although not official, GeoInsight anticipates on a case-by-case basis going forward, sites potentially impacted by PFAS deposition may need to:
- Limit (eliminate?) soil export from the site during any construction work
- Limit (eliminate?) drainage infiltration structures on-site (this may include an expectation that stormwater ponds be lined to limit/prevent infiltration)
- Coordinate dewatering with the NHDES Water Pollution Division
In December 2019, NHDES issued a “Plan to Generate PFAS Surface Quality Standards (Prepared for the New Hampshire Legislature in Accordance with Chapter 368, Laws of 2018)” which can be found using this Link. NHDES is currently evaluating how best to go about setting surface water standards in the State. In addition, in collaboration with other state agencies, the EHP is reportedly working to establish fish and venison consumption guidelines for the State.
Recently, NHDES has announced that wastewater treatment facilities (WWTFs) will be required to sample influent, effluent, and sludge for the four regulated PFAS (PFOA, PFOS, PFHxS and PFNA) compounds. In addition, Draft Non-Point Source (NPDES) permits issued to WWTFs will require annual sampling of certain types of industrial discharges into the WWTP. These industrial discharges include those from platers/metal finishers, paper and packaging manufacturers, tanneries and fabric treaters, landfill leachate, contaminated sites, firefighting training facilities and airports, as well as other known or expected sources of PFAS.
In addition, draft NPDES permits for direct industrial discharges will require quarterly sampling of effluent for the four regulated PFAS compounds.
GeoInsight’s professionals include Professional Geologists and Engineers licensed in the State of New Hampshire. We have experience working on projects where emerging contaminants like PFAS are present and we have had experience working collaboratively with water system operators in the State to help understand the evolving regulatory landscape. Our staff have a solid understanding of the occurrence, chemistry, fate/transport and unique sampling, analytical and data validation requirements of PFAS, and will work together to bring practical, strategic solutions if PFAS are a concern on your site.
nIf you have any questions about the evolving NH PFAS regulatory environment or to understand how/if these regulatory changes could impact your project – call us 800.217.1953
Nikki Delude Roy, PG, Vice President
Lea Anne Atwell, PG, Project Geologist
Michael Dacey, PG, Senior Consultant / NH Office Manager