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U.S. EPA Continues to Aggressively Address PFAS in the Pacific Southwest

07/29/2020
Contact Information: 
Soledad Calvino (calvino.maria@epa.gov)
415-972-3512

SAN FRANCISCO — Addressing per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) in the Pacific Southwest continues to be an active and ongoing priority for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). In the Pacific Southwest Region, as part of the PFAS Action Plan, EPA is helping states and local communities in the region target PFAS reductions and protect public health.

“With federal technical assistance efforts underway across the country, the Trump Administration is bringing much needed support to state, tribal, and local governments as part of the agency’s unprecedented efforts under the PFAS Action Plan,” said EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler. “These partnerships allow for collaboration, encourage cutting edge research, and information sharing—ensuring that our joint efforts are effective and protective of public health.”

“EPA continues to provide technical support and funding to address this emerging contaminant,” said EPA Pacific Southwest Regional Administrator John Busterud. “We are working with our partners throughout the Pacific Southwest and in the Pacific Islands to assess the potential risk to drinking water that may be impacted by PFAS contamination in an effort to safeguard water supplies in our region.”  

EPA Provides Help Where It Is Needed
Just as important as the progress on PFAS at the federal level, EPA has formed partnerships with states, tribes, and local communities across the country. These joint projects allow EPA to take the knowledge of its world class scientists and apply it in a collaborative fashion where it counts most.

Examples of that technical assistance to states and territories in the Pacific Southwest Region include:

  • Arizona:
    • Helped fund Arizona Department of Environmental Quality’s (ADEQ) Public Water System Source Screening for PFOA and PFOS. Of the 109 samples collected from drinking water wells and analyzed for PFOA and PFOS, 89 had no detectable levels, 14 were below the EPA Health Advisory of 70 parts per trillion (PPT), and six were above the advisory level.
    • EPA’s Office of Research and Development Regional Community of Science Networking (ROCS-Net) program collaborated with ADEQ on "Groundwater Impacts to Public Water System's in Arizona from PFAS Contaminants." ROCS-Net participants visit an EPA research facility and are matched with a host EPA research scientist to help create opportunities for information sharing and collaboration.
  • Guam:
    • EPA collaborated with Guam EPA to develop preliminary PFAS vulnerability Assessment for drinking water wells on Guam. The assessment was conducted using EPA well head protection area analysis methods.
    • Provided technical document review and consultation for Guam EPA on PFAS cleanup and disposal issues.
  • California:
    • Participated in California State Water Resources Control Board’s PFAS Datathon to evaluate PFAS chemical fingerprint and concentration trends. Some preliminary trends were observed but require additional data for confirmation.
    • Ongoing collaboration with California State Waterboard on data analysis for statewide PFAS sampling efforts.
  • Hawaii:

“ADEQ appreciates EPA's support to help Arizona prepare to address an emerging drinking water challenge,” said ADEQ’s Water Quality Division Director Trevor Baggiore. “Through EPA funding, ADEQ will build on our 2018 efforts to assess potential PFAS contamination in Arizona. The information gathered will help ensure public water systems continue to provide healthy drinking water for Arizonans.”

“Guam EPA benefits tremendously from the technical assistance we receive from U.S EPA Region 9,” said Guam EPA Administrator Walter S. Leon Guerrero. “Our island’s ability to evaluate risks associated with PFAS contamination, waste management and containment assessment will flourish with our continued collaboration and broadened support from Region 9.”

"The California State Water Resources Control Board is collaborating with U.S. EPA Region 9 on various analysis methods using the statewide data from PFAS source and drinking water testing,” said State Water Boards Executive Director Eileen Sobeck. “EPA Region 9 staff have provided valuable insights into the occurrence and potential sources of PFAS in public water systems in California. This collaboration helps to inform this state’s regulatory decisions to address sources of PFAS, and to protect public water systems in California.”

EPA’s regional actions complement the efforts being made to address PFAS nationwide. In July alone, EPA has made significant progress implementing the PFAS Action Plan—the most comprehensive cross-agency plan ever to address an emerging chemical of concern.

Background on the PFAS Action Plan
Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) are a group of synthetic chemicals that have been in use since the 1940s. PFAS are found in a wide array of consumer and industrial products. PFAS manufacturing and processing facilities, facilities using PFAS in production of other products, airports, and military installations are some of the contributors of PFAS releases into the air, soil, and water. Due to their widespread use and persistence in the environment, most people in the United States have been exposed to PFAS. There is evidence that continued exposure above specific levels to certain PFAS may lead to adverse health effects.

As part of EPA’s aggressive efforts to address these risks, the agency issued the PFAS Action Plan in February 2019. The Action Plan is the agency’s first multi-media, multi-program, national research, management, and risk communication plan to address a challenge like PFAS. The plan responds to the extensive public input the agency received during the PFAS National Leadership Summit, multiple community engagements and through the public docket. The PFAS Action Plan outlines the processes and tools EPA is using to develop to assess the PFAS risk and assist states, tribes and communities in addressing their unique situations.

For more information on EPA’s research on PFAS, please visit: https://www.epa.gov/chemical-research/research-and-polyfluoroalkyl-substances-pfas.

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