New guidelines issued by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) over maintaining the safety of drinking water could force local municipalities to spend billions in order to remain in compliance.
As Just The News reports, the new regulations will force municipalities to install new filtration systems in order to reduce the amount of the chemicals known as PFAS and PFOS, a class of 14,000 chemicals that can contaminate drinking water for as many as 200 million Americans. Such chemicals are often used in household products such as non-stick pans, stain-resistant treatments, semiconductor coatings, and firefighting foam.
One state that has had to deal with the mitigation of PFAS is Illinois, with efforts led by the Illinois Environmental Council (IEC) and its city programs director Iyala Simba.
“Food wrappers and pizza boxes contain PFAS to make them grease-proof,” Simba said in a statement explaining her campaign for such regulations. “This is an issue that we are going to be dealing with for decades, if not hundreds of years because of how these chemicals are set up. They are not meant to break down.”
“This is something that a lot of water treatment plants are really afraid of because they can’t begin to cover the costs,” Simba added. Illinois had previously received millions in federal handouts in 2021 for the purpose of handling PFAS contamination; however, the new EPA guidelines are expected to cost billions to enforce on a regular basis.
In order to begin offsetting such costs, municipalities are expected to file lawsuits against facilities and entities that produce PFAS, including the U.S. military and chemical companies such as DuPont, Chemours, and 3M; the military uses PFAS in its firefighting foam at training facilities and airports, while chemical companies make use of the compound in various applications such as construction material, rain gear, and non-stick cookware.