California American Water celebrates commissioning of new treatment well in Rancho Cordova

By on December 7, 2017
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California American Water celebrated yesterday with a ribbon-cutting ceremony for the commissioning of new well treatment unit in Rancho Cordova. The $1.3 million unit will treat for Perfluorooctanoic and Perfluorooctanesulfonic acids, also known as PFAAs. They are found in some fire-fighting foams and other industrial materials.

PFAA is substance which is currently unregulated by the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). However, it has recently been identified as a possible water contaminant. California American Water found low levels of PFAA at the Rancho Cordova wellsite though it was only one of more than 60 wells in the area. The company proactively shut the well down in 2016 after the EPA lowered the advisory levels for PFAAs as new scientific research on the substances became available.

Audie Foster, California American Water’s director of operations, recently said, “California American Water is erring on the side of caution because that is in the best interest of protecting public health and safety. We took proactive measures to protect our community, however small the risk. I want to thank our state, federal and local government partners for assisting us in expediting this project so we could bring this much needed well back into service. I see this as a good example of government and the private sector working together to efficiently accomplish the shared goal of public safety and cost-effective engineering.”

The new well commissioned by California American Water employs a granular activated carbon (GAC) system. The GAC filter is regarded as a proven option to remove certain chemicals, particularly organic chemicals, from water. GAC is an effective adsorbent because it is a highly porous material and are effective in removing chlorine, sediment and volatile organic compounds (VOCs) from water. Initially large quantities of PFAAs were found in fire-fighting foams which then entered the soil and stormwater drains. The use of these fire-fighting foams has been phased out.