A second version of the PFAS National Environmental Management Plan has been released by the Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment.
All states, territories and the Federal Government collaborated to develop the PFAS National Environmental Management Plan (PFAS NEMP) version 2.0.
The environmental management of the group of manufactured chemicals known as PFAS (per-and poly-fluoroalkyl substances) is a high priority for environmental regulators around Australia.
The PFAS NEMP 2.0 provides new and revised guidance on four areas, environmental guideline values, soil reuse, wastewater management and on-site containment, that were identified as urgent priorities in the first version of the NEMP.
This new guidance, as well as important clarifications regarding the intent of some of the PFAS NEMP 1.0 material, was developed by the National Chemicals Working Group across 2018 and considered by Heads of EPAs and Environment Ministers in late 2018.
The Department stated that PFAS NEMP 2.0 is now being implemented in the Commonwealth and other jurisdictions, subject to Ministerial approvals as set out in the plan.
“The document has incorporated feedback from the public consultations held in early-to-mid 2019 on the draft PFAS NEMP 2.0,” the Department stated.
The PFAS NEMP establishes a practical basis for nationally consistent environmental guidance and standards for managing PFAS contamination.
It represents a how-to guide for the investigation and management of PFAS contamination and waste management.
The first version of the NEMP, known as NEMP 1.0, was published in February 2018.
The PFAS NEMP 2.0 states that the widespread presence of PFAS in the environment in Australia and around the world is a result of its unique properties, which have led to it being widely used for many decades.
“PFAS are persistent and highly resistant to physical, chemical and biological degradation. Consequently, PFAS are found in humans, animals and the environment around Australia,” the PFAS NEMP 2.0 states.
“Addressing the wide range of issues associated with PFAS contamination, including the management of PFAS contaminated materials, represents a challenge for us as environmental regulators.”