After testing water at 15 local wells, the Santa Clarita Valley Water Agency has removed one well from service that tested positive for PFAS chemicals, the water agency announced Thursday.
In May 2019, as part of its quarterly sampling required by the State Water Resources Control Board – Division of Drinking Water, SCV Water sampled 15 wells for PFAS chemicals.
Of the wells tested, eight were above the interim notification levels set by DDW. One exceeded the response level and was immediately removed from service.
“We are taking immediate steps to address the detected levels of these substances in our groundwater source,” said Matt Stone, SCV Water general manager. “Based on interim guidance from the State, we have removed one well from service. We have convened a ‘strike team’ of key staff and outside experts to assess treatment and other strategies that we can put in place.”
Initial goals of the strike team include formulating a sampling plan for all agency wells currently in service as well as investigating potential treatment options and placement.
Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) is a group of man-made chemicals that are heat-resistant, almost indestructible, and are used to repel oil and water. They were widely manufactured in the U.S. between 1950 and 2015, and are primarily used in industrial and consumer products to repel grease, moisture, oil, water and stains.
Their presence is pervasive throughout the environment worldwide. PFAS contamination is impacting many states across the U.S. SCV Water is one of more than 200 water systems and more than 612 groundwater wells in California required to sample for PFAS chemicals.
In 2016, the Environmental Protection Agency published a Lifetime Health Advisory 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 and California’s Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment 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.
Today’s technology detects substances at increasingly low levels. For perspective, one part per trillion is equivalent to a distance of one inch in a journey of 16 million miles, or the passage of one second of time in 320 centuries.
State and federal efforts are underway to set maximum contaminant levels for drinking water. Granular activated carbon, such as that found in common water filters available for home use, has been shown to effectively remove PFAS from drinking water.
For more detail on this issue, SCV Water has developed an Information Sheet on PFAS which can be found here.