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DU Evaluating New EPA Advisory

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has recently issued an updated health advisory lowering the levels for LIFETIME exposure to PFOS and PFOA in drinking water. The new advisory levels are well below what were previously non-detectable levels. This is an advisory only and is not a regulation or law. Due to the newly announced advisory levels, recent testing of Decatur Utilities drinking water shows results that are above the EPA’s new 2022 advisory levels for PFOS and PFOA, but below those added for GenX Chemicals and PFBS.



While customers need to be aware of this change to the health advisory, Decatur Utilities drinking water has been and continues to be safe to drink and for use in bathing, cooking, cleaning, etc. Both the 2016 and 2022 advisory limits are based on a lifetime of daily consumption. The EPA issued the updated health advisory levels for PFOA and PFOS on an interim basis until the release of permanent regulatory requirements for these two contaminants.


The health advisories will, in part, inform their decision-making on setting future enforceable limits.


EPA acknowledged that current testing technology cannot detect the presence of PFOA or PFOS at the levels in the new 2022 advisory. Test data for DU’s drinking water is based on current technology capabilities at third-party independent laboratories.



Chemical

2016 Advisorty

2022 Advisory

January 2022

April 2022*

PFOA

70 ppt (combined)

.004 ppt

2.0

9.3

PFOS

70 ppt (combined)

.02 ppt

2.07

8.25

GenX

NA

10 ppt

Non-Detect

Non-Detect

PFBS

NA

2,000 ppt

2.99

3.87

* April testing was conducted after a heavy rain event which resulted in additional turbidity, runoff from farmland, etc.


Tom Cleveland, Decatur Utilities Water Resources Manager, said health advisories are not enforceable by EPA or the Alabama Department of Environmental Management. “However,” he said, “Decatur Utilities will continue to test for these contaminants on a quarterly basis using the best available analytical technology.”


Ray Hardin, Decatur Utilities General Manager, said DU management is looking at the new advisory and what future regulations could mean for the utility. “We will be evaluating the new advisory levels, ongoing test results, and any steps that will need to be taken to come into compliance once EPA sets Maximum Contaminant Levels for PFOA and PFOS under upcoming National Primary Drinking Water regulations,” Hardin said. “At that time, we will explore grants and other funding options to minimize the impact these regulations could have on customer rates.”


If you have questions regarding this matter, please call 256-552-1444.

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