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State Regulation of PFAS in Drinking Water: Testing, Restrictions, and Liability in California, New York, and More

Implementation of Local Regulations While EPA Proposals Stall

Recording of a 90-minute CLE video webinar with Q&A

This program is included with the Strafford CLE Pass. Click for more information.
This program is included with the Strafford All-Access Pass. Click for more information.

Conducted on Thursday, March 31, 2022

Recorded event now available

or call 1-800-926-7926

This CLE webinar will provide environmental counsel with an update on the state restrictions and regulations on per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) contamination and drinking water levels. The panel will discuss how to navigate these intersecting restrictions and how companies can meet testing and notification requirements in multiple states.


Many states have expressed frustration with the lack of an enforceable federal PFAS drinking water standard and have started the process of regulating PFAS in drinking water themselves. As a result, states have adopted a patchwork of regulations and standards that present significant challenges to impacted industries.

Maximum contaminant levels (MCLs) set the maximum concentration of a given contaminant present in drinking water. Publicly owned treatment works (POTWs) and drinking water systems must ensure that drinking water distributed to the public meets these limits. To do that, POTWs and state agencies often include discharge limits in the permits of upstream dischargers to ensure that the treatment facility can comply with the MCL.

Without a federal PFAS standard, there is a large discrepancy between the regulatory standards established by the various states. For example, for PFAS substances in drinking water, the smallest concentration is 5.1 ppt (California; PFOA only), and one of the highest values is 140,000 ppt (Michigan; PFHxA only).

Businesses that currently or historically have used PFAS compounds or have reason to believe that they may be present in their wastewater effluent should evaluate: (1) whether they discharge any substances to water that are eventually used for drinking water; and (2) whether their discharge contains any of the regulated PFAS compounds. That information will allow those businesses to determine whether to modify their operations to reduce or eliminate PFAS from their waste stream in anticipation of permit conditions based on the different state PFAS regulations.

Listen as our expert panel discusses the current state of PFAS regulation in drinking water standards, the status of proposed federal regulation, and best practices of businesses that use PFAS compounds to evaluate the use of this chemical moving forward.



  1. Current federal PFAS regulation in drinking water
    1. Proposed Safe Drinking Water Act
  2. State regulations
    1. California
    2. New York
    3. Michigan
    4. Other states
  3. Best practices of the industry
    1. Mitigating liability


The panel will address these and other relevant topics:

  • What are the current PFAS standards in drinking water in California, New York, and other highly regulated states?
  • What is the status of the proposed Safe Drinking Water Act?
  • How should businesses that intentionally use PFAS compounds evaluate continued use to minimize liability under these regulations?
  • How can businesses evaluate the risk of PFAS in their wastewater effluent from ingredient packaging and process equipment, even if they don't intentionally use PFAS compounds as part of their manufacturing process?


Gardella, John
John P. Gardella


Mr. Gardella’s practice focuses on environmental litigation and compliance matters, as well as the litigation of...  |  Read More

Lee, Thomas
Thomas S. Lee

Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner

Mr. Lee is leader of the firm’s PFAS and Proposition 65 teams. He regularly works with clients in a variety of...  |  Read More

Rackl, Sarahann
Sarahann Marie Rackl, Ph.D., P.E.

Senior Managing Engineer

Dr. Rackl is a scientist and environmental engineer with a broad interdisciplinary technical and academic background in...  |  Read More

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