A bill introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives will target electroplating and metal finishing operations that discharge PFAS in their wastewater.

H.R. 8076 would establish effluent limitations guidelines, standards, and water quality criteria for perfluoroalkyl and poly-fluoroalkyl substances under the Federal Water Pollution Control Act.

Chris PappasChris PappasThe bill specifically targets electroplating and metal finishing operations among eight other source categories, which the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency says are the largest dischargers of PFAS in the U.S. 

The others are organic chemicals, plastics, synthetic fiber manufacturers, textile mills, landfills, leather tanning, paint formulators, and plastic molders.

Congressman Chris Pappas (NH-01) and U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (NY), along with Reps.Brian Fitzpatrick (PA-01) and Dan Kildee (MI-08) re-introduced the bipartisan, bicameral Clean Water Standards for PFAS Act. The legislation requires the EPA to develop water criteria for PFAS under the Clean Water Act. It gives EPA the authority to establish effluent limitations guidelines (ELGs) and standards for eight priority industry categories for all measurable PFAS or classes of PFAS within three years.

The bill was sent to the House’s House Transportation and Infrastructure for consideration.

Require Guidelines for Plating and Metal Finishing Operations by June 2025

The bill would require guidelines for electroplating and metal finishing operations to be in place by June 30, 2025. It also includes significant federal support to assist communities in upgrading their municipal water infrastructure to safeguard public health and protect ratepayers.

"The dangers posed by ‘forever chemicals’ like PFAS remain one of the most pressing environmental and public health issues of our time," Pappas says. “The Clean Water Standards for PFAS Act will finally take action to hold polluters accountable, establish proactive limits for PFAS, set water quality criteria, and support communities with contaminated water. No industry should be given a free pass to poison our water; no community should bear the burden of addressing this challenge alone."

Melanie Benesh, Vice President for Government Affairs at the Environmental Working Group, says industries shouldn’t be able to “dump as much PFAS as they like into nearby rivers, streams, and lakes,” which puts public health at risk.

“The Clean Water Standards for PFAS Act is a critical piece of legislation that will ensure that the EPA acts quickly to turn off the tap on some of the most notorious PFAS polluting industries,” Benesh says.

Specifically, H.R. 8076 would require the EPA to develop water quality criteria under the Clean Water Act (CWA) for all measurable PFAS or classes of PFAS within three years.

  • Not later than June 30, 2025: Organic Chemicals, Plastics and Synthetic Fibers; Electroplating; and Metal Finishing.
  • Not later than June 30, 2026: Textile Mills; and Landfills
  • Not later than June 30, 2027: Leather Tanning and Finishing; Paint Formulating; and Plastics Molding and Forming

Establish PFAS Monitoring Requirements

The bill would also require EPA to immediately establish PFAS monitoring requirements for three additional industry categories (Pulp, Paper, and Paperboard; Airports; and Electrical and Electronic Components) and reach a determination on whether ELG standards are needed for these industries by December 31, 2025.

Earlier this year, the EPA sent a survey to electroplating operations as part of its “Chrome Finishing Industry Data Collection.” The questionnaire collected data for the agency’s revision of the metal finishing and electroplating guidelines to address discharges of PFAS from the chrome finishing wastewater system.

The 84-question survey was sent to 2,035 shops. The EPA says the questionnaire and wastewater sampling program are necessary for it to determine whether the “current regulations remain appropriate and to develop new regulations if they are deemed to be warranted.”

Read H.R. 8076 HERE.