The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has completed review of a July 2020 determination to not regulate perchlorate in drinking water. The agency concluded that the 2020 decision is supported by the best available peer reviewed science. Additionally, EPA announced multiple integrated actions to ensure that public health is protected from perchlorate in drinking water.
“EPA is taking action and applying the right tools to support public health protections,” said EPA Assistant Administrator for Water Radhika Fox. “Funding through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, a new monitoring study, financial and technical tools, and cleanup of contaminated sites will enhance protections and help ensure that communities can rely on clean and safe drinking water.”
The agency is committed to partnering with state co-regulators, Tribes, and communities to address perchlorate. Through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, EPA is providing $11.7 billion through the Drinking Water State Revolving Funds supplemental, and $4 billion in dedicated funding to address emerging contaminants. This funding is part of the single-largest investment in U.S. water infrastructure and can be used to address perchlorate and other drinking water needs.
While EPA is not pursuing a drinking water regulation at this time, the agency will continue to consider new information on the health effects and occurrence of perchlorate
Investing in infrastructure will complement additional actions. EPA will support research to better understand perchlorate as it relates to firework displays. EPA also plans to establish a web-based toolkit to provide updated technical information to assist drinking water systems and communities that may have concerns about perchlorate contamination of their source water. EPA anticipates that this toolkit would be available online in 2022.
Additionally, cleaning up existing contamination and protecting drinking water sources from future contamination is central to the Agency’s approach for addressing perchlorate in drinking water. EPA is working with states to address perchlorate contamination under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA), also known as the Superfund program. These cleanups have already reduced perchlorate levels at some sites. The agency will also consider proposed revisions to Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) standards for the open burning and open detonation of waste explosives and bulk propellants to reduce impacts of perchlorate to human health and the environment.
While EPA is not pursuing a drinking water regulation at this time, the agency will continue to consider new information on the health effects and occurrence of perchlorate. EPA’s decision does not impact any state standards for perchlorate. The agency will continue to consider if perchlorate should be added to future Contaminant Candidate Lists for possible regulation under the Safe Drinking Water Act.