Solid Waste Industry Responds to EPA’s Proposed PFAS CERCLA Rule

Solid Waste Industry Responds to EPA’s Proposed PFAS CERCLA Rule

Agency is urged to ensure that the “polluter pays,” not communities

The Solid Waste Association of North America (SWANA) submitted joint comments today with the National Waste & Recycling Association (NWRA) in response to the US Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) proposed rule to designate two PFAS compounds as hazardous substances under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act (CERCLA).

The joint comments address industry concerns that PFAS regulation under CERCLA will assign environmental cleanup liability to essential public services and their customers. While EPA has indicated it has discretion over enforcement to avoid going after passive receivers, that would not prevent manufacturers and heavy users of PFAS from bringing claims for contribution against landfills and others.

“SWANA is very concerned about the unintended consequences of imposing Superfund liability on passive receivers such as landfills,” stated David Biderman, SWANA’s Executive Director and CEO. “The mere prospect of such liability is already slowing down site cleanups and increasing costs. We didn’t manufacture or use PFAS, nor did we profit from it. Our landfills accepted it in the waste that we safely manage. It makes little sense to impose the draconian penalty of Superfund liability on solid waste landfills for PFAS.”

SWANA also joined comments submitted by a coalition of passive receivers of PFAS compounds expressing concern that the proposed rule could result in significant increased costs for essential public service providers and the communities they serve while undercutting the Administration’s broader human health and environmental protection goals. In addition to SWANA, the letter was also signed by American Public Works Association, National Association of County Officials, National League of Cities, National Waste & Recycling Association, North East Biosolids & Residuals Association, US Composting Council, US Conference of Mayors, and Wisconsin Counties Solid Waste Management Association.

SWANA continues to advocate that the solid waste industry be provided a limited exemption under CERCLA along with other passive receivers. In addition to meeting with offices in both the US House of Representatives and Senate, SWANA has engaged directly with the White House Council on Environmental Quality, Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, EPA Office of Land and Emergency Management, Small Business Administration Office of Advocacy, and others to ensure that CERCLA liability is imposed on the industries that created and profited from these hazardous substances—not taxpayers.