BREAKING: EPA announces new, enforceable levels for PFAs.
- The City of Prescott shut down some city wells last July because they were informed that the level of PFAs were over the limit
- After that, they commenced a stringent water testing program to ensure that the City's water as a whole was below the newest temporary Health Advisory Levels
- PFAS are a group of manufactured chemicals that have been used in industrial and consumer products since the 1940's
- There was never any immediate health risk to the residents of Prescott
- Read more..
The EPA announces relaxed PFAs standards
In July, 2022, the City of Prescott was informed that the levels of PFOA and PFOS in some of the city's water wells was greater than recommendations from the EPA and ADEQ.
The City took immediate action to shut down the wells in question and immediately began a regular and stringent process of testing and monitoring.
Mayor Phil Goode explained at the time, "I want to let our citizens know that in 2018, the same City wells were tested by the ADEQ. Both wells passed, with levels far below the EPA guidelines at the time. Since then, the EPA has changed the requirement twice, to a far more stringent standard. ADEQ tested the wells again recently, and on Friday we learned that the two wells are now testing with levels above the new EPA guideline."
According to the ADEQ, "PFAS are a group of man-made chemicals with fire-retardant properties that have been manufactured and used by a variety of industries since the 1940s. PFAS have been used commercially in the United States to make products like stain and water resistant carpet and textiles, food packaging, firefighting foam, as well as in other industrial processes. The most studied PFAS compounds in the environment are perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) and perfluorooctane sulfonic acid (PFOS)."
PFAS have not been formally regulated at the federal or state level to this point, but new regulations are being proposed. Today, the EPA has announced their Maximum Contaminant Levels (MCLs) for National Primary Drinking Water (NPDWR). These new levels are at a much more easily enforced standard, far higher than the stringent levels announced last July.
||2023 Proposed MCL
|Previous Recommended Health Advisory Levels
(from July, 2022)
|| 4.0 parts per trillion (ppt)
|| 0.004 ppt
||4.0 parts per trillion (ppt)
|| 0.02 ppt
The EPA plans to hold public webinars on March 16, 2023 and March 29, 2023 to provide further information. You can see the EPA webinar schedule here, please note that registration is required to attend.
A public hearing will also be held by the EPA on May 4, 2023, to provide verbal comments on this rule proposal.
Mayor Goode responded, "We've been waiting for the release of these, what I consider, very reasonable numbers. They protect the public, but at the same time, they're measurable and achievable with our water management and being able to really assure the public that our water is safe to use. We still have that one airport well that we will probably have to work out a plan for, but the remaining wells that are providing drinking water to our city are well below the limits that the EPA has finally decided to share with us."
The City of Prescott will provide more information as it is available.
For more information about PFOA or PFOS, please visit the City website at https://www.prescott-az.gov/water-sewer/water-operations/water-quality-reports/ or contact City of Prescott Public Works Department – Water Division at 928-777-1118.
For information about the EPA Health Advisory and ADEQ actions, follow these links:
Arizona Department of Environmental Quality (ADEQ)
Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)
Previous articles about PFAs