EPA sticks to Trump-era guidance on ‘forever chemicals’ disposal

By Ellie Borst | 04/10/2024 01:30 PM EDT

The agency recommended large quantities of PFAS be treated at hazardous waste landfills but left the door open for incineration as an option.

An EPA report on PFAS.

An EPA report on PFAS is shown. The agency updated guidance on disposal of "forever chemicals." Matt Rourke/AP

EPA released an updated draft on which methods effectively destroy or dispose of “forever chemicals,” keeping incineration on the short list of acceptable disposal methods.

The interim guidance, published Tuesday, spells out the most up-to-date information on available technologies for dealing with PFAS-laden firefighting foam, landfill leachate, nonconsumer textiles and drinking water systems — just ahead of EPA’s historic rule limiting some of the chemicals in water, released early Wednesday morning.

The three “more protective technologies,” EPA found, are underground injection wells, hazardous waste landfills and thermal treatment, which includes combustion and incineration.


But no option is a perfect, one-size-fits-all solution for disposal or destruction, and EPA points to the need for “additional research” and “significant uncertainties” on some technologies, namely thermal treatment.