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PFAS Remediation Program


PER - AND POLYFLUOROALKYL SUBSTANCES (PFAS)

The Water Replenishment District (WRD) is committed to managing and protecting local groundwater resources for over four million residents living in the 43 cities of Southern Los Angeles County. We are working with water providers to address Perflourooctanic Acid (PFOA) and Perfluorooctanesulfonate (PFOS) in groundwater and to ensure that all potable water meets state and federal drinking water standards and is safe to drink. Last year the WRD Board of Directors approved a $34 million grant program to address wells that have been contaminated with PFOA and PFOS. You can access the application for assistance here: PFAS Remediation Program Application

PFOA and PFOS are man-made compounds that have been used for several decades all over the world in industrial manufacturing, firefighting foams (aqueous film-forming foam [AFFF]), and several consumer products including fast-food wrappers, pizza boxes, non-stick cookware (Teflon™), clothing (Gore-Tex ®), fabric protectant (Scotchgard™), and stain-resistant carpets. Collectively, they are known as PFAS.  You may be interested to know that PFOA and PFOS have been phased out of products made in the United States since the 2000s.

WRD and others have gathered data in response to the phased sampling program initiated by the State Water Resource Control Board's Division of Drinking Water (DDW) and the Regional Water Quality Control Board (RWQCB). The first phase of water supply well sampling began in the Central Basin, generally in and around the Montebello Forebay. A second phase of sampling was added later for other areas of the basin including the West Coast Basin. PFAS constituents have been detected in some active production wells but are currently below the health advisory level established by the Environmental Protection Agency for PFOA / PFOS.  WRD also sampled our extensive regional groundwater monitoring wells in 2019 and 2020 with results available in our Regional Groundwater Monitoring Report released in March 2021.

WRD continues collaborating with our PFAS Working Group to address PFOA and PFOS within the basin to ensure we are utilizing the best technology to address this issue. We are also working with our State and Federal partners to secure funding to provide treatment programs for contaminated sites. If you have concerns about your water quality, you may contact your water provider for more information.

PFAS Remediation Program Application (Download Here)

Click here to view the WRD PFAS Remediation Program Townhall 

WRD recently completed two pilot tests to evaluate various wellhead treatment technologies that can economically address PFAS.  The pilot testing results are currently available (see link below).  

Well # 7 Pilot Test Report

Well # 10 Pilot Test Report

 

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Frequently Asked Questions

What are PFAS?

Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) are a group of man-made chemicals including the most commonly discussed ones perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) and perfluorooctanesulfonic acid (PFOS). PFAS have been manufactured and used in a variety of industries around the globe, including in the United States since the 1940's. PFOA and PFOS are two of the most extensively produced and studied of these chemicals and due to their chemical structure, are very persistent in the environment and in the human body- meaning they take a long time to break down and can accumulate over time. There is evidence that excessive exposure to PFAS can lead to human health effects.

 

PFAS can be found in:

►           Workplace, including production facilities or industries (e.g., chrome plating, electronics manufacturing or oil recovery) that use PFAS.

►           Drinking water, typically localized and associated with a specific facility (e.g., manufacturer, landfill, wastewater treatment plant, firefighter training facility).

►           Living organisms, including fish, animals and humans, where PFAS can build up and persist over time.

Certain PFAS chemicals have been phased out of manufacturing in the United States. Although PFOA and PFOS are longer manufactured in the United States, they are still produced internationally and can be imported in consumer goods such as carpet, leather and apparel, textiles, paper and packaging, coatings, rubber, and plastics.

(Source: United States Environmental Protection Agency)

How are people exposed to PFAS?

There are a variety of ways that people can be exposed to these chemicals and at different levels of exposure. For example, people can be exposed to low levels of PFAS through food, which can become contaminated through: contaminated soil and water used to grow the food, food packaging containing PFAS, and equipment that used PFAS during food processing.

People can also be exposed to PFAS chemicals if they are released during normal use, biodegradation, or disposal of consumer products that contain PFAS.

Drinking water can be a source of exposure in communities where these chemicals have contaminated water supplies. Such contamination is typically localized and associated with a specific facility, for example, an industrial facility where PFAS were produced or used to manufacture other products, or an oil refinery, airfield or other location at which PFAS were used for firefighting (Source: United States Environmental Protection Agency).

 

Does recycled water contain these chemicals?

There are no state or federal regulatory levels for wastewater or recycled water with respect to PFAS. In some wastewater treatment plants, the current running annual average detected are between the current Notification Levels and Response Levels set by the State Water Resource Control Board's Division of Drinking Water (DDW). Concentrations have stabilized due to the phasing out of PFOA and PFOS. 

How is WRD addressing PFAS?

The WRD Board of Directors has approved a $34 million PFAS Remediation Program which provides grants for pumpers to build treatment systems. In addition, WRD continues to monitor groundwater quality using a network of over 300 wells as we have done for over 50 years. The district also continues to work with our state and federal partners to secure funding to provide treatment programs when necessary.

What happens if these chemicals are found in my water supply?

If your water supply contains these chemicals and the concentrations get much higher than the Notification Level, the State recommends the water be removed from service as a precaution. In these cases, the water can be treated or blended to reduce or eliminate concentrations. 

Response levels were revised on February 6th, 2020 and are currently 10 parts per trillion for PFOA and 40 parts per trillion for PFOS.

10 parts per trillion is equivalent to 10 drops in a lake full of water.  

Can you treat PFAS?

PFAS can be treated by various methods with the most common ones being reverse osmosis (RO), ion exchange (IX), and granular activated carbon (GAC). These technologies have been fully studied and are considered "best available technologies" (or BATs) approved by the State Water Resource Control Board's Division of Drinking Water (DDW). WRD and others are currently treating recycled water using fully advanced treatment technologies (including RO) at the three seawater injection barriers along the coast and inland areas located in the Montebello Forebay, including at the Albert Robles Center for Water Recycling and Environmental Learning. Water treated using these technologies will be non-detect for PFOA/PFOS. 

Is groundwater impacted by PFAS?

WRD and others have gathered data in response to the phased sampling program initiated by the State Water Resource Control Board's Division of Drinking Water (DDW) and the Regional Water Quality Control Board (RWQCB). The first phase of water supply well sampling began in the Central Basin, generally in and around the Montebello Forebay. A second phase of sampling was added later for other areas of the basin including the West Coast Basin. PFAS constituents have been detected in some active production wells but are currently below the health advisory level established by the Environmental Protection Agency for PFOA / PFOS.  WRD also sampled our extensive regional groundwater monitoring wells in 2019 and 2020 with results available in our Regional Groundwater Monitoring Report released in March 2021.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are PFAS?

Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) are a group of man-made chemicals including the most commonly discussed ones perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) and perfluorooctanesulfonic acid (PFOS). PFAS have been manufactured and used in a variety of industries around the globe, including in the United States since the 1940's. PFOA and PFOS are two of the most extensively produced and studied of these chemicals and due to their chemical structure, are very persistent in the environment and in the human body- meaning they take a long time to break down and can accumulate over time. There is evidence that excessive exposure to PFAS can lead to human health effects.

 

PFAS can be found in:

►           Workplace, including production facilities or industries (e.g., chrome plating, electronics manufacturing or oil recovery) that use PFAS.

►           Drinking water, typically localized and associated with a specific facility (e.g., manufacturer, landfill, wastewater treatment plant, firefighter training facility).

►           Living organisms, including fish, animals and humans, where PFAS can build up and persist over time.

Certain PFAS chemicals have been phased out of manufacturing in the United States. Although PFOA and PFOS are longer manufactured in the United States, they are still produced internationally and can be imported in consumer goods such as carpet, leather and apparel, textiles, paper and packaging, coatings, rubber, and plastics.

(Source: United States Environmental Protection Agency)

How are people exposed to PFAS?

There are a variety of ways that people can be exposed to these chemicals and at different levels of exposure. For example, people can be exposed to low levels of PFAS through food, which can become contaminated through: contaminated soil and water used to grow the food, food packaging containing PFAS, and equipment that used PFAS during food processing.

People can also be exposed to PFAS chemicals if they are released during normal use, biodegradation, or disposal of consumer products that contain PFAS.

Drinking water can be a source of exposure in communities where these chemicals have contaminated water supplies. Such contamination is typically localized and associated with a specific facility, for example, an industrial facility where PFAS were produced or used to manufacture other products, or an oil refinery, airfield or other location at which PFAS were used for firefighting (Source: United States Environmental Protection Agency).

 

Does recycled water contain these chemicals?

There are no state or federal regulatory levels for wastewater or recycled water with respect to PFAS. In some wastewater treatment plants, the current running annual average detected are between the current Notification Levels and Response Levels set by the State Water Resource Control Board's Division of Drinking Water (DDW). Concentrations have stabilized due to the phasing out of PFOA and PFOS. 

How is WRD addressing PFAS?

The WRD Board of Directors has approved a $34 million PFAS Remediation Program which provides grants for pumpers to build treatment systems. In addition, WRD continues to monitor groundwater quality using a network of over 300 wells as we have done for over 50 years. The district also continues to work with our state and federal partners to secure funding to provide treatment programs when necessary.

What happens if these chemicals are found in my water supply?

If your water supply contains these chemicals and the concentrations get much higher than the Notification Level, the State recommends the water be removed from service as a precaution. In these cases, the water can be treated or blended to reduce or eliminate concentrations. 

Response levels were revised on February 6th, 2020 and are currently 10 parts per trillion for PFOA and 40 parts per trillion for PFOS.

10 parts per trillion is equivalent to 10 drops in a lake full of water.  

Can you treat PFAS?

PFAS can be treated by various methods with the most common ones being reverse osmosis (RO), ion exchange (IX), and granular activated carbon (GAC). These technologies have been fully studied and are considered "best available technologies" (or BATs) approved by the State Water Resource Control Board's Division of Drinking Water (DDW). WRD and others are currently treating recycled water using fully advanced treatment technologies (including RO) at the three seawater injection barriers along the coast and inland areas located in the Montebello Forebay, including at the Albert Robles Center for Water Recycling and Environmental Learning. Water treated using these technologies will be non-detect for PFOA/PFOS. 

Is groundwater impacted by PFAS?

WRD and others have gathered data in response to the phased sampling program initiated by the State Water Resource Control Board's Division of Drinking Water (DDW) and the Regional Water Quality Control Board (RWQCB). The first phase of water supply well sampling began in the Central Basin, generally in and around the Montebello Forebay. A second phase of sampling was added later for other areas of the basin including the West Coast Basin. PFAS constituents have been detected in some active production wells but are currently below the health advisory level established by the Environmental Protection Agency for PFOA / PFOS.  WRD also sampled our extensive regional groundwater monitoring wells in 2019 and 2020 with results available in our Regional Groundwater Monitoring Report released in March 2021.

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