New Jersey Takes Steps Toward New Guidance Level for PFNA

Private_Wells We have previously posted multiple blogs about PFNA, a perfluorinated compound which has been found in many private wells in the West Deptford area. On January 11, 2017, the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) announced that it had accepted a proposal by the Drinking Water Quality Institute to establish a maximum contaminant level of 13 parts per trillion for PFNA. This is a more stringent standard than the existing one in two ways: first the existing standard is simply a “guidance” that it not legally binding; secondly, the guidance level is 20 parts per trillion and the lower level of 13 reflects additional concerns about the potential human health problems caused by PFNA.

This is far from the end of the road, however. The proposed regulation must go through a public comment period and a hearing which will probably take at least 12 months before it becomes final.

We agree with the Delaware Riverkeeper Network that this decision is “great news”.

We hope that the DEP will also follow the DWQI’s recommendation of an MCL of 14 for PFOA.

The PFNA problem is particularly acute in South Jersey where it has been found in the drinking water supplies of Woodbury, Logan, East Greenwich, Greenwich, Deptford and West Deptford townships as well as well as Paulsboro, which has the highest recorded level of PFNA (150 ppt) in the western world. Residents of Paulsboro have obtained relief through a class action settlement. The local municipalities have found ways to reduce the PFNA in their water supply either through changing the blend on their wells or arranging for carbon filtration. Dozens of private well owners have also learned their wells have been contaminated with PFNA. Although many have been provided with carbon filtration for their private well, it offers a cumbersome, inconvenient and unreliable solution to the problem of ongoing contamination. The best solution, connection to a clean public water supply, still eludes all of these homeowners.