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NEW JERSEY PROPOSES NEW MCLs FOR DRINKING WATER CONTAMINANTS

Posted on October 9th, 2017

Upon recommendations provided by the New Jersey Safe Drinking Water Quality Institute (DWQI), the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP) is proposing to amend the New Jersey Drinking Water Act (SDWA) rules at N.J.A.C 7:10 to establish maximum contaminant levels (MCLs) for two compounds: perfluorononanoic acid (PFNA) and 1,2,3-trichloropropane (1,2,3-TCP). Currently, there are no federally regulated drinking water standards for these contaminants. NJDEP is proposing to establish a MCL for lifetime exposure of 0.013 µg/L for PFNA and 0.030 µg/L for 1,2,3-TCP.

PFNA is a man-made chemical which was historically used as a processing aid in the manufacturing of high-performance plastics that are resistant to harsh chemicals and high temperatures. PFNA is extremely persistent in the environment, and highly soluble and mobile in water. Studies regarding the biological effects of PFNA have linked the chemical to cancers in humans, and reproductive and developmental problems in animals. Although the use of PFNA has been phased out by U.S. manufacturers, it is still legal for products imported to the U.S. to contain this chemical. Based on a drinking water evaluation conducted by the DWQI in 2015, PFNA was reportedly detected in 2.5 percent of the New Jersey public water systems tested, at concentrations exceeding the existing guidance level of 0.02 µg/L. An earlier study conducted by NJDEP in 2009 and 2010 concluded that PFNA and related chemicals were detected in 67 percent of municipal water systems tested throughout 20 counties of New Jersey.

1,2,3-TCP is a man-made chlorinated hydrocarbon with high chemical stability. It has been used as an industrial solvent and as a cleaning and degreasing agent, and has also been found as an impurity in the production of nematocides and fumigants which were applied to soil. TCP has been classified by the USEPA to likely be a carcinogenic to humans. Based on drinking water evaluations, 1,2,3-TCP has been detected in public water systems, private wells, and in groundwater at contaminated sites within New Jersey.

In addition to establishing new MCLs, NJDEP is proposing to establish monitoring and treatment requirements for PFNA and 1,2,3-TCP, which are detailed in the proposal.

The official NJDEP proposal can be found at the address below:

http://www.nj.gov/dep/rules/proposals/20170807b.pdf

Further information is available at:

http://www.njspotlight.com/stories/17/08/08/nj-leads-nation-with-plan-to-curb-two-toxic-chemicals-in-drinking-water/

 

Courtney Palmisano

Environmental Scientist


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