PFAS & Wells
What is PFAS? (PER- AND POLYFLUOROALKYL SUBSTANCES)
Per- and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances (PFAS) are a group of man-made chemicals that are resistant to heat, water, oils, and stains. PFAS are widely used in a variety of industrial and consumer products. The California State Water Resources Control Board’s Division of Drinking Water (DDW) recently required testing by water agencies across the state for two PFAS compounds in groundwater wells. At EOCWD, we currently obtain a majority of our water from our local groundwater basin, which is managed by the Orange County Water District.
Wells utilized by EOCWD tested positive for PFAS compounds which exceeded the notification levels established by DDW of 6.5 ppt (parts per trillion) for Perfluoro octane sulfonic acid (PFOS) and 5.1 ppt for Perfluoro octanoic acid (PFOA). Please note that response levels of 10 ppt for PFOA and 40 ppt for PFOS were set by DDW. Assembly Bill 756 requires wells with detections above the response level to be taken out of service or public notification.
EOCWD prior to receiving the initial sample results, turned off its wells and stopped serving groundwater to its customers. We began using imported water which has not been impacted by this chemical. We took this action because we value your trust, and we wanted to ensure that you know that we will do whatever it takes to retain that trust.
We continue to be involved in conversations on treatment options to allow us to again utilize our groundwater resources, which are historically less costly than imported water sources. The ongoing costs to import water as well as to design and implement treatment options may eventually result in the need for a rate change. If that occurs, we will alert you through the state-required notification process, which includes an opportunity for public engagement.
Further information about updated regulation standards can be found in a release issued by the California Water Boards at, www.waterboards.ca.gov/press_room/press_releases/2020/pr02062020_pfoa_pfos_response_levels.pdf
The Federal EPA also recently announced plans to further address PFAS at the national level. More information is available on their website at, www.epa.gov/newsreleases/epa-announces-proposed-decision-regulate-pfoa-and-pfos-drinking-water