PFAS NEMP (PFAS National Environment Management Plan 2.0)
1. What is the PFAS National Environment Management Plan?
PFAS National Environment Management Plan (NEMP) is policy that provides a consistent framework across Australia for the environmental regulation of PFAS-contaminated materials and sites. The plan was published in January 2018 by the Heads of EPA (HEPA). Since the release of the first version of the NEMP, the HEPA National Chemicals Working Group (NCWG) has been working to clarify and expand on the guidance in the NEMP. In March 2019, A draft ‘version 2.0’ was released, and the public consultation period for it closes on 21 June 2019.
2. What four areas does it cover?
PFAS National Environment Management Plan (NEMP) covers:
- Environmental guideline values
- Soil reuse
- Wastewater management
- On-site containment
3. What are PFASs, and why are they a problem?
PFAS is an abbreviation for per- and poly-fluoroalkyl substances. These are manufactured chemicals that have been used for more than 50 years. PFAS make products non-stick, water repellent, and fire, weather and stain-resistant. PFAS have been used in a range of consumer products, such as carpets, clothes and paper, and have also been used in firefighting foams, pesticides and stain repellents.
PFASs are considered a problem as the release of PFASs types such as PFOS, PFOA, and PFHxS into the environment is an emerging concern globally. These chemicals are highly persistent, can move long distances in the environment, and are linked to adverse impacts on some plants and animals. They can accumulate in the bodies of animals, particularly those that breathe air and consume fish (such as dolphins, whales, seals, sea birds, and polar bears), increasing significantly in the blood and organs of animals higher up in the food chain. Laboratory studies on animals exposed to PFASs have identified negative effects on their reproductive, developmental and other systems.
4. How does the PFAS National Environment Management Plan help and what does it do
The PFAS National Environment Management Plan provides governments with a consistent, practical, risk-based framework for the environmental regulation of PFAS-contaminated materials and sites. The plan reflects the evolving knowledge surrounding PFAS.
5. Who developed the PFAS National Environment Management Plan?
The PFAS National Environment Management Plan was developed by the National Chemicals Working Group of the Heads of EPAs Australia and New Zealand, at the request of all Australian environment ministers.
6. What is the purpose of PFAS environmental guideline values?
The purpose of a guideline value is to identify the level of a contaminant that will minimize human health and ecological risks, based on the best available scientific evidence. Guideline values are developed using methods designed to address the specific sensitivities of the receptors. For example, aquatic wildlife may experience continuous PFAS exposure from the water they live in, whereas for humans, the primary sources are usually food and drinking water.
For more information on PFAS NEMP (PFAS National Environment Management Plan 2.0), you can use the fantastic resource available on the environmental standards page of the esdat.net website to search and use environmental standards and guidelines. Environmental Standards are available for air, water and soil for the United States, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, United Kingdom, Holland and from the World Health Organization.
AUSTRALIA, HEADS OF EPAs, and New Zealand. (2018). PFAS National Environmental Management Plan. The National Chemicals Working Group of the Heads of EPAs Australia and New Zealand (HEPA).