New PFAS Rules Take Effect in Florida
By Kristian Fried, Ph.D., Dr. rer. nat., DABT, ERT, Senior Consultant
Two new pieces of legislation have been signed into law in Florida.
Florida House Bill 1475
Florida House Bill 1475, enacted June 21, 2022, requires the Florida Department of Environmental Protection to adopt statewide rules for cleanup target levels of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) in drinking water, groundwater, and soil, with perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) and perfluorooctane sulfonic acid (PFOS) as priorities. These target levels must be ratified by Florida legislature before taking effect unless the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency finalizes its standards for PFAS in the three categories by January 1, 2025.
Here’s what’s included in this new bill.
Section 2(a): “A governmental entity or private water supplier may not be subject to any administrative or judicial action under this chapter brought by any state or local governmental entity to compel or enjoin site rehabilitation, to require payment for the cost of rehabilitation of environmental contamination, or to require payment of any fines or penalties regarding rehabilitation based on the presence of a particular PFAS constituent until ratified by the Legislature.”
Section 2(c): “Until site rehabilitation is completed or rules for statewide cleanup target levels are ratified by the Legislature, any statute of limitations that would bar a state or local governmental entity from pursuing relief in accordance with its existing authority is tolled from the effective date of HB 1475.”
Section 2(d): “This section does not affect the ability or authority to seek any recourse or relief from any person who may have liability with respect to a contaminated site and who did not receive protection as either a government entity or private water supplier.”
Florida Senate Bill 7012
On June 22, Governor Ron DeSantis signed Florida Senate Bill 7012 into law, establishing a PFAS task force within the Florida Department of Environmental Protection. The bill took effect July 1, 2022, along with a governor-appointed task force, comprising 15 members from different agencies and representatives from state and national organizations in Florida. This task force will help provide recommendations for the following items in Section 10.5 of the bill:
• (a): “Enforceable regulatory standards for PFAS in drinking water, groundwater, and soil in the state.”
• (b): “A mechanism for the identification and cleanup of contaminated areas.”
• (c): “Methods to address liability for contamination and financial responsibility for cleanup.”
• (d): “Appropriate methods and technologies, considering cost, for cleanup and treatment of PFAS contamination.”
• (e): “Funding sources and mechanisms for prioritizing the distribution of funds for cleanup and remediation of PFAS contamination.”
• (f): “Methods to manage waste containing PFAS to prevent possible release or discharge into the environment which could cause contamination of drinking water, groundwater, and soil.”
• (g): “Appropriate testing for and monitoring of PFAS in drinking water, groundwater, and soil to protect the public health and welfare.”
• (h): “Methods to eliminate workplace exposure within the manufacturing industry.”
Beginning in 2023, the task force, per its mandate, will submit an annual report on its progress and findings to the governor and leaders of both houses of the Florida legislature by October 1 of each year. In addition, the group must include information about the most-current state of the science regarding PFAS. This encompasses areas within the state where high levels of contamination have been identified, as well as any past or present action by the state or federal government to address these chemicals of concern.
How Integral Can Assist
Our team at Integral is at the forefront of technical and regulatory PFAS developments. Our experts can guide you through new and complex PFAS regulations and evaluate associated risks. We are fully equipped to conduct environmental PFAS field sampling, assess fate and transport, evaluate toxicity levels, assist with litigation, engineer effective solutions, and help clients develop clear and concise communication materials to meet all technical, regulatory, legal, and stakeholder needs.