The State Water Resources Control Board announced yesterday it will reduce the level of perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) and perfluorooctanesulfonic acid (PFOS) in drinking water that trigger responses by local water systems.
Based on recommendations from the California Environmental Protection Agency’s Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment the Board lowered response levels to 10 parts per trillion (ppt) for PFOA and 40 ppt for PFOS. Previously, the response level was 70 ppt for the total concentration of the two contaminants combined.
Water agencies with water sources that exceed the new, more stringent levels are required to shut off the source, provide treatment, or notify their customers in writing. They are also required to take additional measures to notify the public of the test results.
The Board has been conducting a comprehensive investigation into the extent of PFOA and PFOS contamination statewide and seven additional PFAS chemicals have been detected in multiple wells in California. The reduced levels are a result of that investigation.
In August, the Board requested public health goals be developed for PFOA and PFOS in order to establish enforceable regulatory standards for “forever chemicals”.
More than 600 water system sites in California have reported PFAS data to the State Water Board since August 2019 and additional data continues to be collected on a quarterly basis.
For more information about PFOA and PFOS, the updated notification and response levels, please visit https://www.waterboards.ca.gov/pfas/.