September 2, 2021, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), in collaboration with the Department of Defense (DOD), released the first EPA-validated laboratory analytical method to test for per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) in eight different environmental media. Method 1633, currently in draft form, is a single-laboratory validated method to test for 40 PFAS compounds in wastewater, surface water, groundwater, soil, biosolids, sediment, landfill leachate, and fish tissue. Method 1633 complements existing EPA-approved methods to test for 29 PFAS compounds in drinking water and 24 PFAS compounds in non-potable water.

Prior to the release of Method 1633 regulated entities and environmental laboratories relied upon modified EPA methods or in-house laboratory standard operating procedures to analyze PFAS in these environmental media. Method 1633 will likely be used in a variety of applications, including National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permits. In fact, while Method 1633 is not yet required for Clean Water Act compliance monitoring until EPA promulgates it through rulemaking, EPA has already recommended using Method 1633 in individual NPDES permits.

As Method 1633 is still in draft, it is expected to undergo further refinement by EPA and DOD through a multi-laboratory validation study. EPA and DOD, along with other entities, are also working on more than 130 PFAS-related research efforts. More information and a copy of draft Method 1633 can be found on EPA’s website.