Per- and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances (PFAS)



Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) have been detected in some water resources throughout the country, especially in groundwater drinking wells near airports, military bases, and manufacturing sites. Perfluorooctane sulfonic acid (PFOS) and perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) are two of the more prominently found PFAS constituents and are no longer manufactured or imported into the United States; however, there could be some imported goods containing trace amounts of these substances. According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), PFAS are persistent in the environment, can accumulate within the human body over time, and are toxic at relatively low concentrations. These synthetic substances, of which there are more than 3,000 known chemical varieties, are found in numerous products used in everyday life such as paper food packaging, non-stick coating materials, and stain resistant fabrics. They are also found in aqueous film forming foam products that are used to suppress high-intensity fuel fires. Because of their strong chemical bonds, PFAS are persistent and stable in the environment, making these chemicals extremely difficult to remove even if they were to be completely eliminated from production and use.

Concerns about PFAS

Water and wastewater utilities are on the front lines of environmental protection and are committed to ensuring the safety of the nation’s waters. Water and wastewater utilities and their trade associations share concerns about the presence of PFAS compounds in the environment and are encouraged by the growing body of information that will help make prudent, practical management decisions.

Regional San’s Actions

Regional San is closely following concerns about PFAS and continues to rely on the current science. We urge federal and state regulators to focus on stopping these chemicals at their source through appropriate controls on industrial and other uses – before they enter the sewer system or the environment – and to consider the impacts of new policies or laws on utilities. Water and wastewater utilities are committed to understanding more about PFAS and support further research for a rational, practical, and scientifically based approach. Currently, water and wastewater trade associations are taking the lead on advocacy efforts related to these constituents.

Additional Information

For current information on PFAS, please visit the following websites

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