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City of Rome: EPA to hold river polluters more accountable

August 31st, 2022 – 3:52 PM

Rome City Government press release –

Last week, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency proposed to treat two PFAS chemicals as hazardous substances, which could open the industry up to Superfund liability for releases and cleanups.

According to a release from the EPA, the agency is proposing to designate two per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) — perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) and perfluorooctanesulfonic acid (PFOS), including their salts and structural isomers — as hazardous substances under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA), also known as Superfund. The potential rules would increase transparency around the release of the chemicals and help hold polluters accountable for cleaning up their contamination.

The City of Rome has filed suit against 3M Company seeking damages relative to the pollution of the local rivers from the manufacturers of so-called “forever chemicals.”

Rome has changed its primary raw water intake pumps from the Oostanaula River to the Etowah River because the chemical levels in the Oostanaula exceed environmental advisory guidelines.

Rome is in the process of a $100-plus million dollar conversion of its raw water intake filtering facility for “reverse osmosis” treatment to cope with the chemicals. As a result, the city has implemented the first phase of a multi-year rate increase for water customers to help pay for the reverse osmosis facility.

The rulemaking would require entities to immediately report releases of PFOA and PFOS that meet or exceed the reportable quantity to the National Response Center and state regulator.