The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued the final PFAS regulations on April 10, 2024.  The regulations were initally issued in draft form during 2023.

EPA Regulations

The new EPA regulations set Maximum Contaminant Levels (MCLs) for PFOA (perfluorooctanoic acid) and PFOS (perfluorooctane sulfonic acid) at 4 parts per trillion (ppt); PFNA (perfluorononanoic acid), PFHxS (perfluorohexanesulfonic acid), and GenX (hexafluoroproplene oxide) at 10 ppt; and a hazard index for mixtures of PFNA, PFHxS, GenX and PFBS.

The new regulations are being phased into effect.  Systems are required to start testing for these compounds within 3 years, report the results in the annual Water Quality Report, and notify customers of any violations.  Systems have 5 years to comply with the new MCLs by either installing appropriate treatment or finding alternative PFAS-free water supplies.

The regulations also created Maximum Contaminant Level Goals (MCLGs) for PFOS and PFOA of 0 ppt.  This means that EPA would like to eliminate PFOS and PFOA from water supplies accross the country but current testing protocols, treatment methods, and economic conditions make it infeasible.  We expect the MCLs to drop as testing and treatment methods improve.

MassDEP Regulations

DEP issued their own PFAS regulations in 2020 well ahead of the new EPA rules.  DEP requires six PFAS compounds be below 20 ppt individually or in total. The new EPA regulations are much stricter and are structured differently than current DEP regs.  DEP has 2 years, with the possibility of a 2 year extension, to update their rules to meet or exceed EPA requirements.

Our PFAS Levels

Topsfield's water is tested on a monthly basis for 17 PFAS compounds and contains some of the regulated chemicals.  Testing results are posted on our water quality website -

Of primary concern is the levels of PFOA in our water which regularly test at 5 ppt, which is 1 ppt above the new EPA MCL.  This means that, barring legal action or delays in aligning DEP and EPA regs, Topsfield will likely have to install treatment or find a new source of water in the next 5 years to avoid being in violation.  This timeline is also dependent on DEP's actions as it could be shortened since we already have 4 years of testing data.

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Topsfield, MA 01983


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