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PFAS Challenges to the Solid Waste Industry

Gloved hand taking a water sample

How Much PFAS is in Municipal Solid Waste (MSW)?

There is no standard method for establishing how much PFAS is in MSW. PFAS concentrations have been found to range from zero to more than 1,000 nanograms per gram of sample (ng/g). A value of 10 ng/g (10,000 PPT) is a good representative figure (to compare: the EPA issued a non-regulatory lifetime Health Advisory in 2016 of 70 PPT in drinking water.)

The Role of MSW Management

Municipal solid waste management is an essential public service. We acknowledge and embrace our role as environmental and public health stewards and our continued responsibility and commitment to providing a healthy and clean environment now and for future generations. To that end, SWANA supports actions and regulations that are based on credible science and developed after due consideration.

Industry Obligation to Manage PFAS

The Interstate Technology Regulatory Council identifies the following stakeholder concerns for waste management:

  • Potential PFAS contamination in recycling and compost
  • Wastewater discharges that may contain PFAS
  • Wastewater sludge and other biosolids used for soil amendments that may contain PFAS
  • Landfill leachate that may contain PFAS
  • Stormwater discharges that may contain PFAS
  • Whether PFAS cleanup methods and remedies fully protect human and ecological health
  • Whether incineration technologies prevent toxic emissions