Read the full article by Mark MacIntyre (Alaska Native News)

SEATTLE (July 29,2020)— Aggressively addressing per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) continues to be an active and ongoing priority for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). EPA has made significant progress implementing the PFAS Action Plan—a comprehensive cross-agency plan to address an emerging chemical-of-concern that has appeared in ground and drinking water across the country. This ‘all hands’ effort is helping EPA, states, tribes, and local communities target PFAS reductions and protect public health. 

 ‘With federal technical assistance efforts underway across the country, the Trump Administration is bringing much needed support to state, tribal, and local governments as part of the agency’s unprecedented efforts under the PFAS Action Plan,’ said EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler. ‘These partnerships allow for collaboration, encourage cutting edge research, and information sharing—ensuring that our joint efforts are effective and protective of public health.’

According to Chris Hladick, EPA Regional Administrator in Seattle, EPA is lending technical expertise and scientific resources to help states and local jurisdictions tackle challenges in the campaign to identify and address potential threats to groundwater and drinking water from PFAS and PFOA. 

‘We’re happy to provide some extra scientific ‘horsepower’ in the effort to protect public health,’ said EPA’s Hladick. ‘When our state and local partners need a little extra capacity or expertise, we’re honored to deliver that support. Our partnership with states and other federal agencies has furthered national research aimed at better understanding PFAS and PFOA and how to protect our drinking water.’

In the Pacific Northwest and Alaska:

  • EPA Region 10 has convened bimonthly  state and federal agency PFAS coordination calls to help share the latest research and regulatory developments around PFAS.  The calls feature EPA PFAS researchers and other experts as guests and focus attention where it makes the most strategic sense. For example, participants discuss  contamination hotspots, trends in drinking water research and new toxicity data. The bimonthly forum also offers a ‘real time’ idea exchange and problem-solving platform.
  • EPA is delivering technical assistance to the North Slope Borough (NSB) and Inupiat Community of the Arctic Slope (ICAS) in analyzing PFAS in Imikpuk Lake near the native village of Utqiaġvik.  With the help of EPA’s Office of Research and Development, a study plan was developed and shared with the project partners (North Star Borough, ICAS, Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation, and University of Alaska). The lake (near the former site of the Naval Arctic Research Lab and airstrip) was tested for PFAS by the Navy in 2017 and PFOA and PFOS levels were found to be above EPA’s Lifetime Health Advisory level.  EPA scientists have begun analyzing Lake water, sediment and fish samples previously collected by the University…”