Utilities sue EPA over ‘forever chemicals’ water rule

By Miranda Willson | 06/10/2024 01:36 PM EDT

Two major trade groups say the agency underestimated compliance costs.

A person filling up a glass of water

EPA issued a rule to set first-ever limits on PFAS in drinking water. AFP via Getty Images

Water companies filed a lawsuit Friday against a landmark new regulation to limit “forever chemicals” in drinking water, citing the cost of filtering out the toxic substances.

The Biden administration failed to address the water industry’s concerns about affordability before finalizing the first federal drinking water standards for per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, the American Water Works Association and the Association of Metropolitan Water Agencies said in the legal challenge.

PFAS are a class of human-made chemicals that do not easily break down in the environment and have been linked to liver damage, reduced immunity to diseases and other human health problems. Used in nonstick pans, firefighting foam and other consumer products, the substances are now widespread in the environment.


In April, EPA set legal limits on six PFAS in drinking water to reduce people’s exposure to the chemicals. Environmental advocates and health experts have praised the rule as a major step for public health. Many states are also trying to crack down on PFAS.