Understanding PFAS

ACWD Is Committed to Monitoring for PFAS (Per- and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances) 

Per – and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances (PFAS)

In recent years, people have become more familiar with the term PFAS. PFAS are manmade compounds that have been used to make carpets, clothing, fabrics for furniture, paper packaging for food, electronics, personal hygiene products, and other materials (e.g., cookware) designed to be waterproof, stain-resistant, or non-stick. Of particular interest are four compounds that have Notification Levels. Perfluorooctanoic Acid, more commonly referred to as PFOA, Perfluorooctane Sulfonic Acid, or PFOS, Perfluorobutane Sulfonic Acid or PFBS, and Perfluorohexanesulfonic Acid or PFHxS. Notification levels are health-based advisory levels established by the State Water Resource Control Board Division of Drinking Water for contaminants that may be regulated in the future.

Used in many consumer and industrial products for their ability to repel stains, water, and oil, PFAS are persistent in the environment and do not readily degrade. They have been in use since the 1940s and are prevalent in many items we encounter daily – inside and outside the home. While items imported from outside the United States may contain PFAS, its use is being phased out in the US.  

Find more information on ACWD’s proactive approach to detect PFAS in the water supply in our PFAS Fact Sheet.

Identifying sources of PFAS is critical to water quality   

Water agencies across the country are working to identify sources and treatment of PFAS in water supplies.  Water source supplies vary throughout the country, state and region with the most common sources of water being surface water and groundwater.

In March 2019, the California State Water Resources Control Board (State Board) began a state-wide PFAS investigation and issued orders to approximately 200 water utilities throughout California to test groundwater wells that are in close proximity to fire training/fire response sites (e.g., airfields), industrial sites, landfills, and/or wastewater treatment plants for PFAS. Since ACWD groundwater sources are not located near potential sources of contamination, ACWD was not issued orders to monitor for PFAS by the State Board at that time.

In March 2020, ACWD elected to undertake a voluntary sampling program starting in June 2020, to monitor for the presence of PFAS in groundwater and surface water sources and the treated water being provided to our customers.

Effective January 1, 2023, ACWD received monitoring orders by the State Board to monitor for PFAS compounds on a quarterly basis in all source groundwater.  The voluntary monitoring conducted since June 2020 meets all the requirements of this order and ACWD will continue its regular quarterly monitoring.  Data will continue to be posted on the website.

ACWD’s proactive approach to PFAS

The Alameda County Water District is committed to delivering high-quality drinking water to our customers. This commitment included a voluntary approach to monitoring drinking water for PFAS, prior to being issued monitoring orders by the Division of Drinking Water. Our findings from the PFAS monitoring confirm that no ACWD customers are receiving water with concentrations of PFOS/PFOA, PFBS, or PFHxS above the notification levels and meets all state and federal drinking water quality standards.

View the detailed results of the April 2022 through March 2023 PFAS compounds with notification levels.

View all detailed results of the April 2022 through March 2023 PFAS compounds.

ACWD’s diverse water supply improves water quality, reliability, and flexibility

ACWD has a unique and diverse water supply. This diversity allows for operational adjustments to maximize water quality and reliability.  

The threat of contamination, a natural disaster or drought are some potential risks to our water supply. That is why we continuously take steps to identify, reduce or mitigate these risks and are prepared to adapt operations when needed. Our customers can rest assured your water is available and meets or exceeds all state and federal drinking water standards.

Find out more information on ACWD’s water supply sources.

For more information about PFAS and your water supply, please visit PFAS Frequently Asked Questions.

Additional Resources

Environmental Protection Agency

State Water Resources Control Board

Food and Drug Administration

PFAS Fact Sheet

PFAS Fact Sheet

April 2022 - March 2023 PFAS Monitoring Results

PFAS Results Q1 2023 for website

April 2022 - March 2023 All PFAS Monitoring Results

PFAS Monitoring Results