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Australia and New Zealand Consult on New National PFAS Management Plan

To provide new guidance on the environmental management of per- and poly-fluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) around Australia and New Zealand, the Heads of EPAs of Australia and New Zealand (HEPA) released the draft per- and poly-fluoroalkyl substances National Environmental Management Plan (PFAS NEMP) version 3.0 for public consultation in September 2022. The period for comments ended on February 28, 2023.

PFAS have been utilized for a long time in various industries and consumer products due to their practical properties. However, they are persistent substances, also named “forever chemicals”, which will lead to irreversible environmental exposure and accumulation. PFAS can be found in soil, water, food, plants, sediments, etc. To reduce PFAS emissions into the environment and make products and processes safe for people, the Australian Government and the NEW Zealand Government developed the PFAS NEMP. It provides nationally agreed and practical guidance for the environmental management of PFAS in Australia and New Zealand. It contains information on the followings:

  • PFAS monitoring and assessment;

  • Evaluation of sites for contamination, and prioritizing where action needs to occur;

  • Sampling contaminated material and the techniques for measuring PFAS concentrations;

  • Environmental levels that indicate the need for action;

  • How to deal with sites contaminated with PFAS;

  • PFAS waste and its transport and treatment;

  • ...

The current version of the PFAS NEMP is version 2.0 published in 2020. As new information becomes available, the draft PFAS NEMP 3.0 proposes to include new guidance and standards on the following priority themes:

Priority themes

Propose to include

PFAS grouping

International PFAS grouping approaches.

Environmental data and monitoring

Guidance on ambient monitoring data collection and land use classifications to enable comparability.

PFAS in water

Risk-based criteria and guidance for beneficial reuse of biosolids.

PFAS in solid

Guidance and standards around PFAS behavior in soil, including leaching and associated ecological and human health guidance.

*It finalizes and reviews two guideline values already in the NEMP and proposes two new guideline values for soil and one for wildlife diet.

Resource recovery and waste

Guidance on the management of risks associated with PFAS in resource recovery products.

Site-specific guidance

  • Guidance on principles and approaches to remediation and management;

  • Guidance on construction water; and

  • Guidance on estuarine, coastal and marine sediment.

The draft PFAS NEMP 3.0 can be accessed here (proposed updates are highlighted in shade of gray).

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