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State of New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection
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news releases

January 18, 2019

Contact: Lawrence Hajna (609) 984-1795
Caryn Shinske (609) 292-2994


(19/P006) TRENTON – Affirming New Jersey’s national leadership in addressing chemicals of emerging concern, the Department of Environmental Protection today announced proposed interim ground water quality criteria for perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) and perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS), chemicals that are extremely persistent in the environment.

The DEP has developed draft interim criteria of 10 parts per trillion for each of these chemicals. The DEP will be taking public comment through Feb. 19 with the goal of making these interim criteria effective within the next several months. These criteria will remain in effect on an interim basis until the DEP adopts formal rules setting formal standards for ground water and drinking water.

The interim ground water criteria will be used by the DEP, parties conducting remediation and Licensed Site Remediation Professionals in making decisions about ground water remediation strategies in impacted areas. These criteria will also apply to regulated dischargers to ground water, including industries.

“Having ground water criteria in place for PFOA and PFOS is very important to provide specific goals for remediation projects that are needed to protect the long-term quality of our drinking water supplies,” Commissioner Catherine R. McCabe said. “The DEP remains committed to setting formal drinking water standards and ground water standards that will protect public health and the environment.”

The interim ground water quality standard established by the DEP will be reconciled with the health-based drinking-water maximum contaminant level as part of the formal rulemaking process.

The DEP this week today held an additional stakeholder session to inform rulemaking on drinking-water maximum contaminant levels and ground water quality standards for PFOA and PFOS, members of a class of chemicals known as per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS).

The DEP last year became the first state to adopt a maximum contaminant level and ground water quality standards for any PFAS, setting a standard of 13 parts per trillion for perfluorononanoic acid (PFNA).

The New Jersey Drinking Water Quality Institute, an advisory panel of the state’s leading water experts, has recommended maximum contaminant levels of 14 parts per trillion for PFOA and 13 parts per trillion for PFOS. Some PFAS including PFOA, PFOS and PFNA do not break down readily in the environment and remain in the body for many years once absorbed through drinking or eating.

While scientists continue to study the health effects of PFAS, a growing body of studies suggests that PFOA, PFOS and other types of PFAS may impact liver and immune system function, increase blood cholesterol levels, and cause delays in growth and development of fetuses and infants. PFOA may also increase the risk of certain types of cancer.

PFOA was used in a wide variety of consumer products and industrial applications, including the manufacture of nonstick cookware and food packaging. It was also used to make upholstered furniture, carpets, shoes and clothing resistant to soil, stains, and water. PFOS was used in a variety of industrial applications and commercial applications as well as in firefighting foams.

New Jersey was the first state to conduct statewide studies of PFAS in drinking water and was the first state to set a guidance level for water systems to follow. The DEP has been working with water systems to ensure they address PFOA contamination to protect public health when it is detected.

For information on the draft interim ground water quality criteria for PFOA and PFOS visit,



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Last Updated: January 18, 2019