PFAS Legislative & Regulatory Developments in California

By Jessica Gauger and Jared Voskuhl, CASA, Regulations

Per and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) are a group of man-made chemicals, often called “forever chemicals” because they are extremely resistant to breaking down and they persist in the environment and the human body, leading to continued exposure and health risks into the future. Despite these problems, PFAS are widely used by industry and are in a myriad of residential and industrial products like sunscreen, wrinkle resistant and waterproof fabrics, cookware, sunscreens, cosmetics, cleaning products, and industrial lubricants, polishes, waxes and machinery.

Wastewater treatment facilities are not “producers” or users of PFAS, rather, they receive these chemicals used by manufacturers and consumers. While it is estimated there are between 9,000 and 12,000 distinct types of PFAS chemicals, only approximately 600 are in commercial production. The two most known to be harmful, PFOA and PFOS, have been taken out production in the United States. Biomonitoring data over the last two decades from national studies have exhibited a substantial drop in the detected levels of those two compounds in Americans’ blood serum, which confirms the effectiveness of the source identification and source control approach to PFAS contaminants.

Amongst that backdrop, this year CASA co-sponsored legislation, AB 2247, with the Environmental Working Group and Clean Water Action which is intended to provide a tool to identify sources and pathways of PFAS in commerce and the environment. The bill has been passed by the Assembly and the Senate, and is awaiting the Governor’s signature or veto by the September 30th final bill deadline. If signed, California will require manufacturers of products that contain intentionally added PFAS to disclose the type and amount of PFAS in the products to a public database annually beginning in 2026.

A significant motivating factor driving our pursuit of this bill is recent findings from the State Water Resources Control Board’s investigative order of PFAS at publicly owned treatment works, which required agencies to sample their influent, effluent, and biosolids quarterly for one year. Expert analysis of the data from the investigation revealed that the PFAS compounds detected in the samples predominantly came from residential and commercial sources. CASA and CDM Smith presented in April on this information and other analyses about PFAS signatures in the watershed to the State Water Resources Control Board.. As such, if AB 2247 is signed into law, the information it would generate will enable agencies to make informed management decisions, particularly on source identification and reduction efforts. Additionally, this data will provide a scientific basis for further categorical bans and non-essential use policies that could be imposed by future legislatures or state actions. Agencies in the Bay Area are currently undertaking an effort to sample prospective upstream sources in coordination with their Regional Water Quality Control Board and the San Francisco Estuary Institute to identify from where they are coming, and those findings will be released next year. Together these tools could be used to make significant PFAS source reduction progress at the state and local levels.

The State Water Resources Control Board also is working in collaboration with the California Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment to develop a Public Health Goal for PFOA and PFOS, which will lead to the development of a Maximum Contaminant Level, a safety standard for drinking water, in a couple more years. The United States Environmental Protection Agency has initiated a similar rulemaking at the federal level, and CASA will advocate for our members’ interests on both matters. If you have questions about these or other policy developments in California, reach out to us on