Have you heard of perfluorooctanoic acid and perfluorooctane sulfonate? If so, then you know that these chemicals belong to a family called per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances.
You may also know that the federal government does not regulate these chemicals, which manufacturers use in products like firefighting foams, Teflon and stain-resistant clothing. The problem with that is they were recently linked to adverse health effects such as some cancers, ulcerative colitis, developmental and reproductive issues, and high cholesterol, among others.
New Jersey decided to take action
Like many other states, New Jersey began looking into making its own regulations regarding these PFAS chemicals. Earlier this year, the Department of Environmental Protection announced standards that now represent the strictest in the country. Separate regulations were set up for PFOS and PFOA that mandate no more than 10 parts per trillion can exist in the groundwater.
Because each one has its own regulation, groundwater can contain a maximum of 10 ppt for PFOS and 10 for PFOA. Even so, many sites may require cleanup and/or remediation operations in order to comply with the new levels.
How does this impact you?
These new standards don't just apply to groundwater but also to private wells. One of the state's cities already contemplated filing a lawsuit against large companies in the area that use these chemicals, specifically 3M and DuPont because the city can't afford to take the actions necessary to fix the problem and come into compliance with the new regulation.
This could start a trend that could end up trickling down to smaller businesses like yours if this applies to you.
Is your business in compliance?
Depending on the nature of your business, you may end up needing to make some changes in order to avoid a violation of this new regulation. If so, paying for it could present a challenge. It may be possible to get your insurance company, or the insurance company of past owners, to pay any costs for cleanup and/or remediation, if needed.
It could take some time to see just how this new regulation will affect businesses across the state. In the meantime, it would more than likely benefit you and your company to sit down and review how the changes could affect you and what you can do about it. This way, if you do need to take action, you could gain valuable time to prepare for it.