MassDEP
Drinking Water Program
1 Winter Street, 5th Floor
Boston, Massachusetts 02108

ATTN: Comments Regarding the Proposed PFAS MCL in 310 CMR 22.00

Dear Commissioner Suuberg:

On behalf of the cities and towns of the Commonwealth, the Massachusetts Municipal Association is pleased to provide comment in response to proposed amendments to 310 CMR 22.00, Massachusetts Drinking Water Regulations, establishing a Total Per- and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances (PFAS) Maximum Contaminant Level (MCL) of 20 parts per trillion.

The MMA appreciated the opportunity to meet with you and the MassDEP staff of the Drinking Water Program to review details of the draft regulations. The MMA is particularly appreciative of the inclusion of ‘off-ramps’ to allow communities to discontinue monitoring of public water supplies if no detection is recorded in the third and fourth quarters. Along with an allowance that existing testing results can be submitted in place of new ones on a one-to-one basis, these provisions will save costs for many municipalities as they endeavor to comply with the regulations.

The MMA fully supports the intent of the draft regulations to protect public and environmental health. We also believe there is broad understanding that both mandatory testing of public drinking water supplies and remediation of point sources with PFAS detection at or above 20 parts per trillion will be very expensive for cities, towns, ratepayers and taxpayers. We are grateful for the appropriation of funds in the FY19 closeout budget that included a $10.65 million transfer to the Clean Water Trust to assist in the remediation of PFAS contamination in local water systems, $9.05 million for the State Revolving Fund program to help finance improvements to local water systems, and $4.2 million to help cities and towns test local water systems for PFAS contamination. As the full scope and cost of the need for remediation is not yet known, the MMA remains deeply concerned over how municipalities could pay for what has already been and will continue to be exorbitant cleanup costs. We respectfully ask that the implementation of any new regulatory standard not result in new unfunded mandates.

The MMA has been in close communication with several of our member communities that have already been impacted by detection of PFAS in their drinking water supplies. Some of these communities received individual cost estimates for PFAS remediation in their own local water systems that exceed the total authorization in the close-out budget for this purpose. This is evidence that the actual costs statewide will far exceed the initial state assistance funds that have been appropriated. New state funding to support municipal capital infrastructure needs and other financial and technical assistance associated with PFAS testing, monitoring, and remediation will be necessary, as cities and towns do not have the resources to finance new mandates of this magnitude.

We welcome the opportunity to work collaboratively with MassDEP as final regulations are promulgated, to ensure that municipal concerns and realities are taken into full consideration.

Thank you for considering our comments on the draft PFAS MCL for drinking water. If you have any questions regarding our comments, or require additional information, please do not hesitate to contact me or MMA Legislative Analyst Ariela Lovett at alovett@mma.org or 617-426-7272 ext. 161 at any time.

Sincerely,
Geoffrey C. Beckwith
Executive Director & CEO