EVMWD’s Response to EPA’s Interim Health Advisory: No Immediate Changes to EVMWD’s local water supply, water currently meets all state and federal levels for safety.
On June 15, 2022, the EPA released new drinking water interim lifetime health advisories for per- and poly-fluoroalkyl substances (PFAS). While PFAS are explored at the state and federal levels, our water currently meets all state and federal levels for safety.
Setting drinking water regulations is a lengthy process. The EPA’s new interim health advisory parts per trillion (ppt) levels for PFOA (at 0.004 ppt) and PFOS (at 0.02 ppt) are not enforceable regulations. Rather, they serve as interim guidance before the EPA develops a formal regulation. This is not the first time the EPA issued a health advisory for PFOA and PFAS.
In California, all water agencies follow some of the most stringent PFAS standards in the nation. The State Division of Drinking Water (DDW) has a “Notification Level” (NL) and a “Response Level” (RL) for PFAS and PFOA. PFOA’s NL is 5.1 ppt and the RL is 10 ppt. PFOS’s NL is 6.5 ppt and the RL is 40 ppt.
The health advisory level is the minimum concentration of a compound which may present health risks to an individual over a lifetime of exposure. Because there is uncertainty of the health effects associated with long-term exposure to PFOS and PFOA, the EPA sets lower health advisories. Sometimes, the advisory is lower than current analytical methods can detect.
EVMWD’s customers come first. We are committed to meeting public health standards and ensuring that our water meets rigorous water quality standards. Our water is thoroughly tested and treated thousands of times per year to ensure it meets water quality standards for state and federal regulations. If PFAS are discovered at a reportable level, EVMWD will take immediate and appropriate action to ensure water meets all regulations.
In fact, in 2020 after PFAS was detected above the RL in Canyon Lake that water source was taken offline. Until its PFAS levels are treated and reduced, EVMWD is replacing this supply with imported water from Metropolitan Water District.
EVMWD is actively looking for ways to safeguard our water supply from PFAS. The District recently received $780,000 in Federal Relief Funds for a Canyon Lake Water Treatment Plant pilot project. These funds were secured by Congressman Ken Calvert under the “Community Project Funding” portion of the 2022 Consolidated Appropriations Act. The pilot project will assist EVMWD in determining upgrades to the treatment plant so it can best treat water affected by per- and poly-fluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) and once again resume operation.
PFAS substances are a group of man-made chemicals that have been manufactured and used in a variety of industries worldwide. These substances are found in thousands of products that are used daily, including shampoo, clothing, cleaning products, firefighting foam and non-stick cookware. Like many communities throughout the nation, small amounts of PFAS are found in EVMWD’s water supply. Water districts, like EVMWD, did not put these chemicals in the water, but over time they have entered the waterways through manufacturing, landfills and wastewater effluent.