SCV Water has taken proactive steps to protect public health by voluntarily removing 13 of its groundwater wells from service, the agency reported Friday.
This move follows the State Water Resources Control Board – Division of Drinking Water’s Feb. 6, 2020, decision to lower its response level guidelines for two chemicals found in low concentrations in drinking water across the state.
Voluntary quarterly sampling of all active wells was done in February, and this action is based on those results for perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) and perfluorooctanesulfonic acid (PFOS).
The Agency did not find more or higher levels of the chemicals, but instead is taking action based on the lowered response levels set by the DDW.
The action this week is not related to the COVID-19 virus. The virus is not found in drinking water.
Under the new levels, 14 of the 44 agency wells are impacted. This accounts for approximately 34 percent of the Agency’s groundwater supply. In 2019, groundwater accounted for just 28% of the total water used in the SCV Water service area. SCV Water will continue to rely on its diverse water supply portfolio, including imported and banked water, to minimize supply impacts to customers.
“SCV Water has a diverse and resilient water supply, so this action will not impact the availability of water to our customers,” said Matt Stone, general manager, in a statement. “However, with some groundwater wells temporarily offline, it remains important that customers continue to use water efficiently in their homes and on their landscapes.”
Last month, the DDW lowered its response levels to 10 parts per trillion (ppt) for PFOA and 40 parts per trillion (ppt) for PFOS. The state’s previous response level set a combined 70 ppt for PFOA and PFOS.
These response levels are some of the most stringent guidelines in the nation, and lower than the Environmental Protection Agency’s Lifetime Health Advisory level of 70 ppt. For perspective, one part per trillion would be equal to four grains of sugar in an Olympic-size swimming pool.
The updated guidelines are part of DDW’s statewide effort to assess the scope of water supply contamination by PFOS and PFOA. “We have three quarters of sampling data we can factor in now, giving us a head start in addressing the new guideline,” Stone said. “Our top priority is providing clean and reliable water to our customers. We immediately removed one well from service last year when it exceeded the original response level, and we have taken the same actions for the 13 additional wells that exceeded the revised response level.”
SCV Water is also quickly moving forward with the construction of several water treatment plants to return affected wells back to service. The first PFAS treatment facility has started construction and is expected to be in operation by June of this year, restoring three key wells to service, which provides enough groundwater for 5,000 families.
The fast-tracked project is estimated to cost $6 million to build and $600,000 annually to operate. Additional groundwater treatment facilities are in the planning and design phase.
“We are committed to clear and timely communication with our customers about all water quality changes and how we plan to address them,” Stone said. “Our customers are our top priority, and we are committed to rigorously testing our water thousands of times per year to ensure it meets or surpasses all water-quality standards and is safe for our customers to drink.”
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. Water agencies do not put these chemicals into the water, but over time very small amounts enter the water supplies through manufacturing, wastewater discharge and product use. Exposure to these chemicals may cause adverse health effects.
For more information and resources on PFAS, visit yourSCVwater.com/pfas.
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 73,000 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