SCV Water Responds to the California Division of Drinking Water’s Decision to Lower the Notification Level for PFAS Chemicals
The State Water Resources Control Board (Board) has announced updated guidelines for local water agencies, including SCV Water, to follow in detecting and reporting the presence of perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) and perfluorooctanesulfonic acid (PFOS) in drinking water. The updated guidelines are part of the Board’s comprehensive effort to assess the scope of contamination of statewide drinking water supplies by PFOA and PFOS.
The updated state guidelines lower the current notification level from 14 parts per trillion (ppt) to 5.1 ppt for PFOA and from 13 ppt to 6.5 ppt for PFOS. These new guidelines would apply to all SCV Water wells tested moving forward. Under these levels, an additional three wells would fall within notification levels, added to the eight identified during the first round of sampling in May. One well was removed from service in May when it exceeded DDW’s interim response level of a combined 70 ppt for PFOS and PFOA. The response level is expected to be reviewed by the Board this fall.
For perspective, one part per trillion is a microscopic measurement for something in the water or air and would be equal to four grains of sugar in an Olympic-size swimming pool.
“While we did not find more PFAS in our water, today’s new requirements from the State Water Resources Control Board have established lower notification levels for all California water agencies,” stated SCV Water’s General Manager Matt Stone. “Our customers come first, and we continue to vigilantly monitor our water quality and implement new strategies as needed to safeguard our water supply,” noted Stone.
Notification levels are a non-regulatory, precautionary health-based measure for concentrations in drinking water that warrant notification and further monitoring and assessment. When SCV Water samples water that is above the notification level, it is reported to the State Water Board, as well as the SCV Water governing board, the Santa Clarita City Council, and the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors.
SCV Water will continue to monitor groundwater, and is proactively sampling all 44 groundwater wells in August 2019. In the interim, SCV Water will adjust its systems’ operations and will rely on its diverse water supply portfolio, including imported and banked water sources, in order to minimize any supply impacts to its customers. Additionally, SCV Water encourages customers to continue to use water efficiently in their homes and on their landscapes.
In light of the changes, SCV Water has also proactively begun evaluating treatment options to remove PFOA and PFOS chemicals and has created a staff-led team dedicated to developing a plan to address the issue.
SCV Water is one of more than 200 water systems and over 612 groundwater wells in California required to sample for PFAS and PFOA chemicals this year.
Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) are a group of manmade chemicals that are prevalent in the environment and were commonly used in industrial and consumer products to repel grease, moisture, oil, water and stains. These chemicals enter the environment through treated wastewater discharge, landfills and areas where the substances were used outdoors. Exposure to these chemicals may cause adverse health effects.
For more information and resources on PFAS, visit yourSCVwater.com/pfas.
History of PFAS Regulatory Levels In 2016, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) published a Lifetime Health Advisory (LTHA) recommending that the concentration of PFOA and PFOS in drinking water, either individually or combined, should not be greater than 70 parts per trillion (ppt).
In June 2018, the State Water Resources Control Board – Division of Drinking Water (DDW) and California’s Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA) established interim notification levels (NL) of 13 ppt for PFOS, 14 ppt for PFOA, and a Response Level (RL) of 70 ppt for PFOS and PFOA individually or combined.
About SCV Water: The Santa Clarita Valley Water Agency (SCV Water) is a full-service regional water agency located in the Santa Clarita Valley. SCV Water provides water service to approximately 72,000 business and residential customers. It was formed on January 1, 2018, when local water suppliers combined into one integrated, regional water provider. More information can be found at www.yourSCVwater.com