Public Drinking Water


Title 216 Department of Health
Chapter 50 Environmental Health
Subchapter 05 Water Quality
Part 1 Public Drinking Water
Type of Filing Amendment
Regulation Status Proposed
Filing Notice Date 11/20/2023
Filing Hearing Date(s) 04/01/2024
Public Comment Dates 11/20/2023 to 04/18/2024

Regulation Authority:

R.I. Gen. Laws § 46-32-1 et seq.

Purpose and Reason:

In accordance with R.I. Gen. Laws § 42-­35-­2.7 and the PFAS in Drinking Water, Groundwater, and Surface Waters Act, R.I. Gen. Laws § 46-32-1 et seq. (PFAS Act), as amended in June 2023, notice is hereby given that the Rhode Island Department of Health (RIDOH) proposes amendments to the rules and regulations for Public Drinking Water (216-RICR-50-05-1) for the regulation of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) in drinking water.   

The PFAS Act requires the Director of RIDOH to, on or before September 1, 2024, either: “(1) [p]ublish a notice of proposed rulemaking regarding the regulation of PFAS compounds under the rules and regulations pertaining to public drinking water as a class or subclasses; or (2) [p]ublish a notice of decision not to regulate PFAS compounds as a class or subclasses under the rules and regulations pertaining to public drinking water that includes, at a minimum, an identification of all legal, technical, or other impediments to regulating PFAS compounds as a class or subclasses and a detailed response to all public comments received.” R.I. Gen. Laws § 46-32-4(b). If the Director decides to regulate PFAS as a class or subclass, then the PFAS Act requires the Director to file two different rules—(1) a rule regarding adoption of the interim drinking water standard of 20ppt as a maximum contaminant level (MCL) (a final version of which must be filed by June 1, 2024); and (2) a rule regarding the regulation of PFAS as a class or subclass (initial public review for which must begin by February 1, 2024 and a final rule which must be published by June 30, 2025). R.I. Gen. Laws §§ 46-32-3 and 46-32-4.  

The Director has decided to regulate PFAS as a class/subclass. RIDOH is proposing to file one rule, by June 1, 2024, that satisfies both rules required to be filed by the PFAS Act. Specifically, RIDOH is proposing to establish a final MCL of 20ppt for the total of the 6 PFAS contaminants identified in the PFAS Act: perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA), perfluorooctane sulfonic acid (PFOS), perfluorohexane sulfonic acid (PFHxS), perfluorononanoic acid (PFNA), and perfluoroheptanoic acid (PFHpA), and perfluorodecanoic acid (PFDA). RIDOH believes that regulating these 6 PFAS constitutes regulating PFAS as a class/subclass based on the data and information RIDOH has collected from water systems in the State to date and the analysis it developed a few years ago to support draft regulations that were never published. RIDOH's data indicate that those 6 PFAS are the only PFAS detected in Rhode Island drinking water at levels that are expected to significantly impact human health. RIDOH believes that regulating the 6 PFAS named in the statute is the best approach to reduce human health risks from PFAS.  

RIDOH chose an approach to regulating PFAS that extends the interim drinking water standard for PFAS of 20ppt established in the PFAS Act because public water systems have had to work to come into compliance with the interim standard and it does not make sense to make them meet a new set of rules at this time. The federal Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is expected to publish a final rule for PFAS in 2024, which RIDOH will need to adopt; EPA’s rule, as proposed, would require compliance three years after promulgation.


Comment(s) Received*

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