Tag Archive for: PFAS

Keep up with evolving PFAS requirements

The EPA added two PFAS chemicals as Hazardous Substances. Learn how Locus software is keeping up with PFAS chemical tracking and reporting.

PFAS Drinking Water Regulations by State

Are stricter PFAS standards coming your way?

PFAS chemicals were first invented in the 1930s and have since been used in several applications from non-stick coatings to waterproof fabrics to firefighting foams. In recent years, PFAS studies and research funding have increased remarkably, but as of right now the EPA has yet to implement regulations on the chemicals. Many states have leapfrogged the EPA by implementing regulations on PFAS use, safe PFAS levels in drinking water, and by suing manufacturers of PFAS chemicals. This creates a complex set of regulatory requirements, depending on where you operate.

Updated August 30, 2021

PFAS Lawsuits and Drinking Water Limits in US

Locus offers software solutions for PFAS management and tracking. Our EHS software features tools to manage multiple evolving regulatory standards, as well as sample planning, analysis, validation, and regulatory reporting—with mobile and GIS mapping functionality. Simplify tracking and management of PFAS chemicals while improving data quality and quality assurance. With future PFAS regulations being an inevitability, the time is right to adopt a software that can track and manage these and other chemicals.

Contact us to see Locus’ PFAS management solution


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    How to Prepare for EPA’s Latest UCMR 5 Guidelines

    Attention all water providers: the EPA’s UCMR 5 list includes 30 contaminants (29 PFAS and lithium) that both small and large water systems have to test for and report. Can your current environmental solution handle it?

    Locus EIM environmental software can handle new chemicals and analyses seamlessly. Both the standard Locus EIM configuration and the Locus EIM Water configuration (specially tailored to water utilities) are built with ever-changing regulations in mind.

    We’ve put together some helpful background and tips for water providers preparing for UCMR 5 monitoring.

    What water providers need to know

    • The fifth and latest list (UCMR 5) was published on March 11, 2021, and includes 30 new chemical contaminants that must be monitored between 2023 and 2025 using specified analytical methods.
    • SDWA now requires that UCMR include all large PWSs (serving >10,000 people), all PWSs serving between 3,300 and 10,000 people, and a representative sample of PWSs serving fewer than 3,300 people.
    • Large systems must pay for their own testing, and US EPA will pay for analytical costs for small systems.
    • Labs must receive EPA UCMR approval to conduct analyses on UCMR 5 contaminants.

    EPA UCMR 5 Infographic

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    What’s the UCMR and why are some contaminants unregulated?

    In 1996, Congress amended the Safe Drinking Water Act with the Unregulated Contaminant Monitoring Rule (UCMR). Under this new rule, US EPA can require water providers to monitor and collect data for contaminants that may be in drinking water but don’t have any health-based standards set (yet) under the SDWA.

    More than 150,000 public water systems are subject to the SDWA regulations. US EPA, states, tribes, water systems, and the public all work together to protect the water supply from an ever-growing list of contaminants.

    However, under the UCMR, US EPA is restricted to issuing a new list every five years of no more than 30 unregulated contaminants to be monitored by water providers.

    This helps reduce the burden on water providers, since monitoring and testing for the existing long list of regulated contaminants already requires a significant investment of time and resources.

    Throughout the course of this monitoring, US EPA can determine whether the contaminants need to be officially enforced— but this would require regulatory action, routed through the normal legislative process.

    Tips for managing UCMR in Locus EIM logo

    • DO use EIM’s Sample Planning module to set your sample collection schedule ahead of time, as requirements vary and are on specific schedules
    • DO take advantage of EIM’s sample program features to track and manage UCMR data, or consider using a dedicated location group to track results, keeping them separate and easy to find for CCR reporting.
    • DON’T worry about adding in new analytical parameters in advance. With EIM’s EDD loader, you can automatically add them when the data arrive from the laboratory.

    Contact your Locus Account Manager for help setting up your EIM database in advance of your sampling schedule, and we’ll make sure you’re equipped for UCMR 5!

    Not yet a customer? Send us a quick note to schedule a call or a demo to find out how Locus software can completely streamline your water sampling and reporting.

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      Is PFAS Contamination in US Drinking Water Supply the Next Crisis?

      In most cities in the US, drinking water quality conforms with the norms of the Safe Drinking Water Act, which requires EPA to set Maximum Contaminant Levels (MCL) for potential pollutants. Besides, the EPA’s Consumer Confidence Rule (CCR) of 1998 requires most public water suppliers to provide consumer confidence reports, also known as annual water quality reports, to their customers.

      PFAS stands for “perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances,” with the most important thing to know that this large group of synthetic chemicals includes perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) and perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS).

      Not Regulated by EPA

      When it comes to drinking water from the tap in the US, the phrase that fits concerning PFOA and PFOS is “caveat emptor” (buyer beware). The EPA has not regulated these chemicals. There are no federal regulations for PFOA and PFOS in drinking water in the US.

      In May 2016, the EPA established a drinking water “health advisory” of 70 parts per trillion (ppt) for the combined concentrations of PFOA and PFOS. While that was a start, there’s a big difference between a health advisory and a regulation that has teeth. Moreover, many scientists consider 70 ppt too high a limit. Reportedly, the EPA is considering turning its 70 ppt health advisory into regulation.

      Meanwhile, some states have stepped up to the plate to protect their residents and visitors better. In April 2019, for instance, the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) proposed maximum contamination levels (MCLs) of 14 ppt for PFOA and 13 ppt for PFOS in the state’s drinking water.

      As a water consumer, you should be aware of this crisis, as it has the potential to affect both your health and wealth.

      What are PFOA and PFOS?

      This toxic couple has contaminated the drinking water supply in areas surrounding some industrial sites and military bases. They’re the most studied of the PFAS group because they’re the ones that have been produced in the most significant quantities in the United States, according to the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

      PFOA and PFOS, which repel water and stains of various types, have been used as coatings on fabrics and leather and in the production of stain-repellent carpeting and are found in firefighting foams — which have been used extensively on US military bases for decades — among other products. Moreover, some related polyfluoroalkyl compounds can be transformed into these chemicals in the environment, per the National Institutes of Health (NIH), with the Environmental Working Group (EWG) stating that some perfluorinated chemicals not only break down into PFOA in the environment but also can do so in the human body.

      While PFOA and PFOS are no longer made in the US, that hardly matters in our global economy. Both are still produced internationally, which means they end up in our country via imports of consumer goods such as carpet, apparel, textiles, and paper and packaging.

      Why all the concern about PFOA and PFOS?

      These chemicals — dubbed “forever chemicals” because they’re persistent in the environment and the human body — have been linked to cancer, thyroid disease, weakened the immune system and liver function, low infant birth weight, and other health problems, according to many sources.

      And this is what the EPA says: “There is evidence that exposure to PFAS can lead to adverse health outcomes in humans. If humans, or animals, ingest PFAS…the PFAS are absorbed and can accumulate in the body. PFAS stay in the human body for long periods. As a result, as people get exposed to PFAS from different sources over time, the level of PFAS in their bodies may increase to the point where they suffer from adverse health effects.”