Pierce Atwood LLP offers this summary of Maine Per- and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances (PFAS) standards as a convenience in evaluating PFAS and tracking Maine Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) regulatory and Maine legislative developments. Levels are provided below in parts per million (ppm), parts per billion (ppb), or parts per trillion (ppt), depending on the matrix typically involved. Please click here if you prefer to view or print this information as a PDF.
I. Maine Drinking Water Program Guidance, Department of Health and Human Services
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This standard is taken from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Drinking Water Health Advisory of 2016. ME CDC, Dec. 2016 provided the same standard.
II. Maine DEP Chapter 418, Beneficial Use of Solid Wastes, Appendix A – screening concentration – (secondary materials)
These concentrations are also being applied as screening levels to residuals regulated under DEP Chapter 419, Agronomic Utilization of Residuals. If screening levels are exceeded, a “closer look” by the Department will occur. See Memorandum from David Burns, DEP to licensed facilities that land apply, compost, or process sludge in Maine, RE: Requirement to analyze for PFAS compounds, March 22, 2019 (link below).
III. Maine DEP Soil Remedial Action Guidelines (ppm) effective October 19, 2018
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IV. Maine DEP Water Remedial Action Guidelines (ppb) effective October 19, 2018
“For PFOA and PFOS, use EPA health advisory where groundwater is used or may be used for human consumption.”
V. Maine DEP Fish Tissue Remedial Action Guidelines (ppm) effective October 19, 2018
VI. Maine DEP Chemicals of High Concern Listing
PFOS and its salts were listed in July 2015 as “Chemicals of Concern,” under the Toxic Chemicals in Children’s Products Law, 38 M.R.S. §1691, et seq. At the same time, PFOS and its salts were also listed as “Chemicals of High Concern.” The listing qualifies a chemical for further regulation under this law. See the entry below, noting that DEP is proposing regulation of PFOS as a “High Priority” chemical.
VII. Governor Mills’ Executive Order No. 5 FY 19/20 – An Order to Study the Threats of PFAS Contamination to Public Health and the Environment
On March 6, 2019, Governor Mills issued “An Order to Study the Threats of PFAS Contamination to Public Health and the Environment.” Citing the need for a coordinated response and the necessity of studying PFAS distribution, assessing potential impacts, and recommending strategies to mitigate the impacts, Governor Mills established a task force comprised of the commissioners of four state agencies, as well as a public health physician and a representative selected by the commissioners of the Maine DEP and Maine DHHS from several different specified groups or entities. The task force has multiple specific tasks including gathering information, identifying data gaps, sources and pathways for PFAS, inventorying aqueous film forming foam (AFFF), and addressing how state agencies may reduce or eliminate risks. The task force has begun meeting and has created a website where further information can be found.
VIII. Maine DEP Memorandum to Licensed Facilities that Land Apply, Compost, or Process Sludge in Maine
This memorandum from David Burns, DEP to Licensed facilities that land apply, compost, or process sludge in Maine, RE: Requirement to analyze for PFAS compounds, March 22, 2019, requires testing of certain materials for certain PFAS. All biosolids/sludge program licensees and biosolids/sludge composting facilities are directed to test their material for PFOA, PFOS, and PFBS, and to update their Sampling and Analytical Work Plan to include sampling and analysis for these compounds, before any additional land application of these materials. Includes detailed sampling and analytical recommendations.
IX. Maine DEP Proposed Regulations and Other Guidance
- Chapter 890, Designation of PFOS as a Priority Chemical, proposal publicly noticed on April 3, 2019. The Department is proposing to adopt a new rule that will designate PFOS as a priority chemical and require reporting for certain product categories that contains this regulated chemical. The proposed rule applies to manufacturers of specified product categories that contain intentionally added amounts of PFOS, which is or was used to make clothing water repellant, among many other uses. Comments are being considered by the Department.
- Maine DEP Bureau of Remediation and Waste Management, Division of Technical Services Memorandum, To: Carla Hopkins, Environmental Specialist IV, cc: David Burns, Acting Bureau Director, From: Kelly Perkins, Chemist 3, Date: March 26, 2019, Re: Per- And Polyfluoroalkyl Substances (PFAS) Laboratory Recommendations. Suggests items for discussion with laboratories before analysis of samples.
X. New Legislation - An Act to Protect the Environment and Public Health by Further Reducing Toxic Chemicals in Packaging
Approved by Governor Mills on June 13, 2019, this Act amends the 1989 Reduction of Toxics in Packaging law, which applied to four metals in all packaging or packaging components. The amendments expand the law to reach phthalates, PFAS, and additional "chemicals of concern" in food packages. The law now includes specific bans, and authorizes additional DEP rulemakings that may lead to bans or other requirements, giving the department FDA-like authority. See 38 M.R.S. § 1731 et seq., amended by P.L. 2019, c. 277.
XI. Legislation to be Proposed - PFAS as Hazardous Substances under Maine's Superfund Law
By email dated June 19, 2019, DEP managers announced plans for legislation that would designate some or all PFAS as "hazardous substances" under the Maine Uncontrolled Hazardous Substance Sites Law (Maine's "Superfund"). Thereafter, DEP would have authority to designate sites, require cleanups, and seek cost recovery for addressing PFAS contamination. That legislation would likely be introduced in late 2019, and acted upon in the next legislative session in 2020. DEP took this position after hearing concerns raised over its initial rulemaking plans to designate all PFAS as hazardous matter.
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PFAS Names and CAS Numbers
Perfluorobutanesulfonic acid (PFBS) CAS # 375-73-5, 59933-66-3
Perfluorooctanesulfonic acid (conjugate base perfluorooctanesulfonate) (PFOS) CAS # 1763-23-1
Perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) (conjugate base perfluorooctanoate) CAS # 335-67-1
If you have questions or concerns about PFAS issues, please contact one of our environmental law attorneys: Ken Gray at 207.791.1212, Tom Doyle at 207.791.1214, Bill Taylor at 207.791.1213, or Lisa Gilbreath at 207.791.1397.
Last updated June 20, 2019.
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Our environmental law team has authored a variety of alerts on PFAS in Maine. Please click any of the links below for more information.