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The family of compounds called Per – and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances (PFAS) are man-made 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. PFAS were also used for firefighting at airfields and in a number of industrial processes. Perfluorooctanoic Acid (PFOA) and Perfluorooctane Sulfonic Acid (PFOS) are subgroups of PFAS.
Although PFOA and PFOS are no longer manufactured in the United States, they are still produced internationally and can be imported into the United States in consumer goods such as carpet, leather and apparel, textiles, paper and packaging, coatings, rubber and plastics.
PFAS are persistent in the environment, can accumulate within the human body over time, and are toxic at relatively low concentrations.
In 2018, the Division of Drinking Water (DDW) set the customer Notification Level of 14 parts per trillion (ppt) for PFOA and 13 ppt for PFOS and recommends removing the source from service at a Response Level of 70 ppt combined for PFOA and PFOS. In March 2019, the California State Water Resources Control 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 in close proximity to potential sources of contamination, ACWD was not issued orders to monitor for PFOA or PFOS by DDW.
ACWD tested drinking water supplies for PFOA and PFOS compounds in 2014, as required by United States Environmental Protection Agency under the third Unregulated Contaminant Monitoring Rule. ACWD did not detect PFOA or PFOS in the drinking water in 2014.
More information on PFOA and PFOS is available at www.epa.gov/ground-water-and-drinking-water/drinking-water-health-advisories-pfoa-and-pfos or the California Water Board Frequently Asked Questions https://www.waterboards.ca.gov/pfas/docs/pfas_general_faq.pdf