November 6, 2019
The Orange County Water District (OCWD) and all water agencies in its service area operate their water systems in compliance with all state and federal guidelines and regulatory requirements. We strive to deliver safe, reliable drinking water to 2.5 million customers.
The Orange County Water District (OCWD) strives to deliver safe, reliable drinking water to 2.5 million customers every day. OCWD and the water agencies in its service area are committed to operating in compliance with all state and federal guidelines and regulatory requirements.

Perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) and perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS) are chemicals that are prevalent in the environment and were once commonly used in many consumer products. Through an ongoing investigation, California and many other states have found that PFAS have made their way into our groundwater, particularly near airports and military bases where these chemicals are commonly used.

OCWD and local water retailers are actively engaged with federal and state regulators and elected and appointed officials on this issue. As part of its commitment to transparency, OCWD provides regular PFAS updates to community stakeholders. 

For more background information, please see the materials below:

Regulatory Happenings
In October, the National Toxicology Program released the draft report on Toxicology on PFOA, available  here . Of note, the report states that the actual risk to humans is beyond of the scope of this assessment.  

The State Water Resources Control Board has also recently issued investigative orders to Chrome Plating Facilities in California, including 40 in Orange County. The orders require the facilities to submit a site investigation work plan detailing the various potential pathways for discharge of PFAS from the facility, and the nature of potential PFAS contamination in the soil, groundwater, stormwater, and effluent wastewater where applicable. The facilities will then be required to complete the site investigation and submit final reports. 

The California Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA) has now posted the agenda for its upcoming webinar about the toxicological and epidemiological data for evaluating the health risks of PFOA and PFOS. The webinar is from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. and OCWD will be participating.  The event is open to the public and free to attend. The agenda is available  here , and you can click  here  to register. 

OEHHA is holding the webinar in connection with its initiation of the development of Public Health Goals for PFOA and PFOS in drinking water. OEHHA is inviting the public to submit information on these chemicals that could assist in evaluating their health risks by January 15, 2020. More information about this data call-in is available by clicking  here .
Local Activities
OCWD recently responded to misleading and alarmist news articles based on Environmental Working Group’s online tap water database. We want to assure residents that drinking water supplied by our retailers is safe to drink, and our water is continuously tested to ensure compliance with peer-reviewed state and federal standards. To help correct misinformation, OCWD has outlined the flaws with EWG’s methodology in a recent  fact sheet , which includes information on the many regulations in place to ensure safe drinking water. 

Third quarter testing for PFAS in wells throughout OCWD's service area is underway now, and OCWD anticipates testing will be completed before the end of the month. The District will also do additional testing once the first winter storm event occurs to determine how the first event potentially impacts PFAS levels in the basin. OCWD is making every attempt to gather as much data as possible to obtain a comprehensive understanding of this critical issue. 

OCWD is preparing to launch its pilot study – the largest PFAS pilot program in the nation – this month. OCWD staff, its consultant and local water retailers have been collaborating over the past several months in designing and building the program and anticipate the pilot will provide much-needed information as retailers throughout Orange County determine what treatment options are appropriate and feasible. 

Carollo Engineers and OCWD hosted a kick-off meeting with local water retalilers about the PFAS Treatment Systems Planning Study. In the coming weeks, Carollo will be meeting with individual retailers who may require treatment for groundwater wells impacted by PFAS. The Planning Study is slated to conclude next June. 

OCWD also continues to work with other stakeholders throughout the state to share information and updates on PFAS issues. Upcoming presentations include:

SAWPA EC Task Force on November 13
ACWA Fall Conference December 3-6
State Water Resources Control Board PFAS Summit December 4-5

For more information on upcoming events, please contact  Gina Ayala .