Basic information about about PFOA, PFOS and other PFAS/PFCs; how people are exposed; health effects; laws and regs that apply; and what EPA and states are doing to reduce exposures.
Drinking Water Facts: Perfluorinated Chemicals (PFCs) in Drinking Water:
What levels of PFCs found in drinking water are safe to drink?
USEPA has issued a lifetime drinking water Health Advisory for PFOA and PFOS of 70 parts per trillion (ppt)or (ng/L) either individually or when concentrations of PFOA and PFOS are combined. A Health Advisory identifies the concentration of a contaminant in drinking water at which adverse health effects are not anticipated to occur.
The New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP) developed a guideline for chronic (lifetime) exposures to PFOA of 40 ppt (ng/L). NJDEP has also established an interim specific ground water criterion for PFNA of 10 ppt (ng/L).
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Contact Information:
What are perfluoroalkyls?
Perfluoroalkyls are stable, synthetic chemicals. Perfluoroalkyls are unique because they repel oil, grease, and water. The two perfluoroalkyls made in the largest amounts in the U.S. are perflurooctanoic acid (PFOA) and perfluorooctane sulfonic acid (PFOS).
How can PFCs be removed from water?
Filters containing activated carbon or reverse osmosis units have been shown to be effective at removing PFCs from water supplies where they have been used and tested.
MDH has conducted a study of point of use water treatment devices – for more information see the information sheet entitled, "MDH Evaluation of Point-of-Use Water Treatment Devices for Perfluorochemical Removal Final Report - Summary" (PDF: 205KB/6 pages).
Other types of common water treatment systems, such as water softeners, are not likely to remove PFCs. Boiling the water will not remove the PFCs.
If you are interested in installing a water treatment system of any sort, be sure to work with a reputable supplier and check references.
Source: Minnesota Department of Health
See also: Recommendation on Perfluorinated Compound Treatment Options for Drinking Water
Important update from Tracy Carluccio at Delaware Riverkeeper Network: Some of you got an email in August from me about the NJDEP proposed safe drinking water standard, also called a Maximum Contaminant Level (MCL) being proposed for PFNA. The comment period is open on this through 5pm on October 6. This is a reminder of the due date, or if you are just hearing about this, a request that you consider submitting a comment to NJDEP in support of the adoption by the state of a mandatory safe drinking water standard or MCL for PFNA.
As you may know, the NJ Drinking Water Quality Institute finished their studies and recommended a MCL of 13ppt 2 years ago. NJ is finalizing this by proposing to make a rule that sets a MCL for PFNA for all of New Jersey. This standard is more strict than what is being used as guidance now. So this will require all drinking water systems in NJ to be regularly tested for PFNA and water that is found to be contaminated with PFNA at 13ppt or greater has to be treated so it’s removed to below that level.
My organization, Delaware Riverkeeper Network, engaged an independent toxicologist when the Institute did their study and we are recommending an even stricter standard of between 3 and 5 ppt. Activated carbon treatment, which some your municipalities now have, removes PFNA to non-detect if it is operated properly. Some municipalities are “blending” water (diluting contaminated water by adding water with no or less PFNA) to keep the concentration of PFNA down. But currently there is no mandatory requirement to do this – the adoption of a MCL will make removal of PFNA to below the adopted MCL standard a requirement for all water suppliers. Water suppliers will have to report to consumers what the sampling of the water shows.
There is also a MCL being proposed for 1,2,3-TCP, which has been found in Burlington County – now all water systems in NJ will have to be tested for that chemical too and have it removed.
Information on these MCLs and other aspects of the proposed changes to the state’s Safe Drinking Water Standards can be found at DRN’s action alert where there is a link to all relevant information and some talking points for people to use to make comment. Here is the link: http://www.delawareriverkeeper.org/node/4977
For convenience, here is the link to the NJDEP rulemaking: http://www.nj.gov/dep/rules/notices/20170807b.html
The comment period for this rule is open to October 6, 5:00 pm. If you can make a comment supporting that DEP adopt a MCL, that will be most helpful. How to do that is explained in our action alert. The more support shown for the adoption of a MCL, the better, so please share this information with others. It is very powerful for the regulators to hear comments from people who have been exposed to contaminated drinking water – you are the impacted community members and have special influence because of what you have been – and in some cases – are still going through. So, your comment really matters. The Talking Points we provide on our action alert will help you write a letter but expressing your own thoughts and saying you have been exposed and want this toxic chemical regulated and removed from your water is the most important thing.
Delaware Riverkeeper Network
925 Canal St., Suite 3701
Bristol PA 19007
Phone: 215.369.1188 ext 104
UPDATE REPORT - SOLVAY
On March 17, 2014 Greenwich Township officials met with representatives from Solvay Solexis, West Deptford, to review water samples from the Township’s wells and water treatment plants. The sampling collection and laboratory analyses were conducted by Solvay in February at the request of the NJDEP’s Site Remediation Program. NJDEP had not previously sampled or required sampling for perfluorinated compounds from the Township's wells or water system. Solvay submitted the sampling results to NJDEP on or about March 20, 2014 for NJDEP quality assurance review and validation. That NJDEP validation of the data is expected to be completed by April 18, 2014. The sampling results, once verified in writing by NJDEP, will be made available upon receipt to the public at the Township municipal building and posting on the Township's website.
Preliminary review of the sampling data noted detections of perfluorinated compounds, particularly perfluorononanoic acid (PFNA) were present in the Township’s wells and treated water. Based on NJDEP guidance levels, PFNA is the only substance of concern to the Township's water supply. On March 14, 2014, NJDEP posted a notice (http:/nj.gov/dep/dsr/pfna/ ) that they would issue guidance levels for the subject perfluorononanoic acid (PFNA) by March 21, 2014. On March 21, 2014 NJDEP posted a 20 parts per trillion draft interim specific ground water quality criteria for PFNA. The posting notes the full basis and background for health concerns will be issued for a 30-day public comment period.
Pending the NJDEP data review and based on the guidance levels being issued by the NJDEP, the Township on March 18, 2014 proactively chose to adjust Well #5 at the Washington Street water plant to be utilized for back-up supply only until further PFNA sampling can be conducted. This move is due to the slightly above guidance level of PFNA found in well water and treated water at the Well #5 site. The NJDEP interim guidance level being 20 parts per trillion, and initial Well 5 lab detection being 22 and 23 parts per trillion. The Township proceeded on its own to resample Well 5 and results are expected in several weeks. Future sample monitoring is anticipated to be conducted on a quarterly basis or until achievement of satisfactory treatment can be implemented.
The Memorial Avenue water plant sampling results revealed that the PFNA levels are below the guidance health level being considered by NJDEP. Adequate supply from the Memorial Avenue water plant is expected, but water conservation by all users will be helpful.
During this interim review by the NJDEP the township has initiated inquiry and assessment for information on additional treatment options and financial sources associated with maintaining the quality of drinking water the residents of Greenwich Township are accustomed to.
As we make these well adjustments and conduct regularly scheduled flushing, water flow in some of the distribution lines may change. This may cause some discoloration of water in some areas. This is not related to the PFNA situation. If you experience discoloration of your water, please notify the township water department at 856-224-0373
TOWNSHIP OF GREENWICH
Text START to (856) 270-7883.
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