On December 18, 2020, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released its Interim Guidance on the Destruction and Disposal of Perfluoroalkyl and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances (PFAS) and Materials Containing Perfluoroalkyl and
Polyfluoroalkyl Substances (PFAS). The Interim Guidance is not a rule or statement of policy, but presents currently available information on PFAS destruction and disposal, as well as highlights the significant uncertainties and critical need for research and development on these topics. EPA also does not address what concentration of PFAS would require destruction or disposal in this guidance document, leaving that for future regulatory action.
The Interim Guidance focuses on three technologies that may be effective to destroy or control migration of PFAS in the environment and are commercially available, including thermal treatment (incineration, kilns), landfilling and underground injection. The guidance applies specifically to destruction and control technologies for the following six categories of PFAS and PFAS-containing non-consumer materials: (1) aqueous film-forming foam (for fire fighting);
(2) soil and biosolids; (3) textiles, other than consumer goods, treated with PFAS; (4) spent filters, membranes, resins, granular carbon, and other waste from water treatment; (5) landfill leachate; and (6) solid, liquid, or gas waste streams from facilities manufacturing or using PFAS.
EPA acknowledges that there are significant gaps in the current state of knowledge and identifies specific research and development activities that are needed to inform future guidance. The Interim Guidance document is just as much an informational document as a plea for help, as it seeks information from outside entities that are willing to share it.