The $770 billion National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA; S. 1605) for fiscal year 2022 was signed into law last week, and among its many provisions was funding for substance contamination control. per- and polyfluoroalkyl (PFAS) in the United States.
This will take the form of new reviews and guidance to prevent and mitigate aqueous film forming foam (AFFF) spills in Department of Defense (DoD) operations and through agreements with non-DoD entities. The AFFF is a fire suppression system used in many DoD missions. New guidance will seek to mitigate the risk of equipment failure that can lead to AFFF spills and will list requirements for the use of personal protective equipment during material transfers or maintenance activities that can lead to spills. such spills.
Additionally, the Secretary of Defense will issue different guidance for DoD and non-DoD entities on how best to prevent and mitigate AFFF spills themselves, focusing on personnel supervision, proper containment, and storage of materials for cleaning. These guidelines will be developed based on the results of a thorough review and implemented no later than 90 days after their completion.
Following the reviews, the Secretary will notify Congressional Armed Services Committees of a summary of each within 30 days of each directive issued. Along the way, they will also create a PFAS task force to identify and fund the purchase of an effective alternative to PFAS firefighting foam and address its effects. Funding for a study and assessment of the health implications of PFAS contamination in drinking water will also be extended to 2023, while within two years an assessment and testing of Site inspection for PFAS will need to be performed at all National Guard installations in the United States. that released PFAS.
Even phasing out PFAS will come under greater scrutiny. Now, a 120-day moratorium is in place for PFAS and AFFF substances and will remain so until the Secretary of Defense issues interim guidance on their destruction and disposal and the Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency of the environment publishes a final rule on this subject in the federal register. .
Within one year of the bill’s proclamation, and then annually thereafter for three years, the Secretary of Defense shall submit a report of all PFAS burnings to both the EPA Administrator and the congressional armed services committees. A further report on DoD water test results is to be made public, while the Comptroller General separately initiates a study of DoD supply of PFAS and items containing it. The latter will help determine the extent of PFA substances in items purchased by the DoD, the difficulties in identifying this presence, and the extent to which the DoD has already reviewed its ability to prohibit the purchase of items contaminated with PFAS.
Further briefings will follow on the PFAS remediation schedule. In total, more than $560 million will be issued for PFAS restoration, associated technical certification, and environmental research.