Per- and Polyfluorinated Substances (PFAS)
PFAS website material
What Are PFAS Compounds
PFAS are long-lasting man-made chemicals that can be found throughout the environment. Exposure can come from the air, water, soil, fish, and consumer products. These chemicals were widely used in non-stick cookware, stain-resistant fabrics, firefighting foams, and other products. The manufacturing of most of these chemicals has been prohibited, but they persist in the environment. At certain levels, PFAS compounds are potentially harmful to humans and the ecosystem.
Advancing Drinking Water Safety
The EPA is in the process of setting enforceable regulatory standards for a series of these chemicals. The requirement, which will ultimately become law, is expected to be announced at the end of 2022. The health advisories announced by the EPA in July of 2022 are not law but are being used by the Authority to guide our response. The EPA has determined that 20% of lifetime exposure risk comes from drinking water, while 80% comes from other sources.
Authority’s Proactive Strategy
Prior to the EPA’s health advisory update, the Authority had taken the initiative to perform pilot testing at the wellfield on potential treatment technology, Granular Activated Carbon. Although the Authority was below the health advisory at that time, the goal was to determine the feasibility of removing as much of the compound as possible. The overall results were generally positive but due to the EPAs most recent determination, the Authority has taken additional action.
The Authority is starting with a two-pronged approach. First, as a short-term solution, the Authority has initiated additional testing at the wellfield to analyze concentration trends at individual wells to determine if there is a potential to reduce compound levels by removing or limiting problematic wells from the production process.
Second, although the final regulatory limits will likely not be announced until the end of the year, the Authority has solicited qualifications packages from qualified consultants to expedite additional evaluations and recommend the most viable treatment process. By starting now and running parallel with the EPA’s analysis we will be strongly positioned to take further action to meet the new requirements and provide the safest water possible to our customers.
While providing safe and healthy water to our customers is our number one priority, we also want you to know that our responsibility does not end there. In addition to the effort to remove PFAS compounds from the water supply, we will also be working diligently to ensure that the wastes are properly disposed of.
Because removal and disposal will be very costly processes, the Authority has been working to minimize costs to our customers. The Authority, in conjunction with national water industry groups and leaders, has supported lobbying efforts to exempt water utility customers from shouldering the burden of removing the compound from the water system. It is the Authority’s position that the polluters (the manufacturers of the chemicals) should bear these costs, not the water utilities who remove the contaminants from the environment. Additionally, the Authority has engaged the services of a law firm to ensure that the utility is well positioned to receive compensation for these expenses.
As the process evolves, the Authority will continue to evaluate options and act to ensure our customers receive clean, safe water that meets or surpasses all regulatory standards. Please do not hesitate to contact our Water Quality Division via email at email@example.com or phone at (305) 296-2454 with any additional questions.