Rhode Island’s New Groundwater and Surface Water PFAS Regulations Now in Effect

At a Glance


As required by state law, the Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management (RIDEM) has established groundwater quality standards and surface water action levels for Perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), which are in effect as of December 28, 2023.

PFAS are manmade compounds that have been used for multiple purposes since the 1940s, including in industrial applications and as part of firefighting apparatus.  There are many PFAS compounds, and they do not readily break down in the environment, which allows them to migrate long distances.

RIDEM’s PFAS groundwater quality standard is set at 20 parts per trillion for six PFAS compounds either individually or in aggregate. This is applicable only to groundwater classified by RIDEM as GA or GAA, which is groundwater assumed to be safe for drinking.

RIDEM’s surface water action PFAS level is set at 70 parts per trillion for eight specified PFAS compounds, individually or in aggregate.  This action level includes a 15-day notification requirement to RIDEM when an exceedance is discovered or significant release suspected, with the potential for RIDEM to require additional investigation, including public notification.  The regulation does not specifically require PFAS sampling for any given Site or property.

GZA can assist you with understanding the new standards and engaging in proper compliance. To learn more, contact Richard Carlone or Edward Summerly.