Thursday, August 10, 2017

NJ ahead of other states in setting limits for two toxic chemicals found in some drinking water supplies

Department of Environmental Protection announces new proposed maximum contaminant limits for two likely carcinogens, PFNA and TCP


Jon Hurdle reports
 
for NJ Spotlight:

New Jersey’s new plan to impose tough limits on two carcinogenic chemicals in drinking water puts it in the forefront of national efforts to control the substances, and is the state’s first such effort for seven years, analysts said.
The Department of Environmental Protection on Monday proposed maximum contaminant limits (MCLs) for perfluorononanoic acid (PFNA) and 1,2,3 trichloropropane (TCP), which are both classified by the federal government as likely carcinogens.
The plan, which would allow the state to regulate the chemicals for the first time, includes a requirement for monitoring and treatment, if necessary, for water systems of all sizes.

Recommending parts per billion

The proposal conforms with a recommendation by the Drinking Water Quality Institute, a panel of scientific advisors to the DEP, that has advocated MCLs for lifetime exposure of 0.013 parts per billion (ppb) and 0.030 ppb for PFNA and TCP, respectively.
The DEP’s plan comes more than two years after the DWQI recommended the limit for PFNA, and seven months after the DEP made its first public statement, in comments to NJ Spotlight, that it had accepted the panel’s proposal.
The lengthy process of accepting and adopting the measure has prompted accusations from environmental groups that the DEP was dragging its feet on a recommendation that could add to costs for water system operators.

Welcomed by Delaware Riverkeeper

But the Delaware Riverkeeper Network, a leading advocate for stricter limits on PFNA and related chemicals, welcomed the DEP’s latest move, saying it would help to reduce a threat to public health.
“New Jersey is finally proposing a maximum contaminant level to remove it,” said Tracy Carluccio, deputy director of the DRN, referring to PFNA. “NJDEP is the first government agency in the nation to take this action and they are doing so based on scientific evidence of PFNA's dangerous health impacts, even at tiny levels, and the fact that some NJ communities have extremely high concentrations.”
PFNA, which was used in textile coatings, stain repellants, and food packaging, has been linked to some cancers in humans and to reproductive and developmental problems in animals. It has been phased out by U.S. manufacturers but is still made in China and other countries, and can still legally be in products imported to the United States, Carluccio said.

Increased costs

New Jersey American Water, which supplies water to about 2.7 million people, welcomed the DEP’s proposal, and said it is already monitoring for unregulated contaminants, as required by an EPA program.
Denise Venuti Free, a spokeswoman, said any new requirement for monitoring and treatment will increase costs. For example, she said the company spent $13 million on carbon filters to remove “trace amounts” of PFCs from water at treatment plants in Gloucester and Salem Counties in 2012 and 2014.

Read the full story here

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