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N.C. announces strategy for PFAS chemicals

The N.C. Department of Environmental Quality has announced an action strategy for PFAS, a class of widely used, long-lasting chemicals whose components break down very slowly over time. Because there are thousands of PFAS chemicals with myriad uses, studying potential health and environmental risks is difficult. 

The DEQ Action Strategy contains three priorities — protecting communities, protecting drinking water and cleaning up existing contamination. These priority areas include actions to identify health and exposure risks, develop the science needed to set enforceable limits and steps to minimize future PFAS pollution. 

In consultation with the Department of Health and Human Services and the Secretaries’ Science Advisory Board, DEQ is working to create a list of PFAS compounds most prevalent in North Carolina. The agency will propose groundwater, surface water and drinking water standards for these chemicals and initiate rulemaking for those with available scientific data. For compounds without required data, DEQ will work with academic partners to develop the data needed to set standards. 

While standards are being developed, DEQ will offer technical assistance to permittees who take early action and choose to reduce their PFAS releases through materials substitution, pollution control and treatment, and other techniques. 

The DEQ Strategy for PFAS Action is online at deq.nc.gov/media/30108/open.

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