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June 13, 2024 6:38PM
June 13, 2024 18:38PM
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PFAS primer

IRWD’s drinking water is safe and meets PFAS standards

The drinking water we provide to customers is safe and meets all quality standards set by both the state and federal government.

That includes new PFAS standards set for 2029 by the U.S. EPA in April 2024. IRWD already meets those standards, five years ahead of the deadline.

That means none of the water Irvine Ranch Water District delivers to homes, businesses and schools contains any detectable PFAS.

Visit IRWD.com/waterquality for information on how IRWD monitors and tests its water, or for a copy of the District’s annual Water Quality Report.  

What are PFAS compounds?

Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, often referred to by the abbreviation PFAS, are human-made chemicals. They are resistant to heat, water and oil, and  have been used extensively in consumer products such as carpets, clothing, cosmetics, fabrics for furniture, paper packaging for food, fire-fighting foams, and other materials  designed to be waterproof, stain-resistant, or nonstick, such as Teflon and Scotchgard.

How does PFAS get into the drinking water?

PFAS can get into drinking water when products containing them are used or spilled onto the ground or into lakes and rivers. PFAS migrate easily through the ground, getting into groundwater that may be used for water supplies or for private drinking water wells. Such contamination is typically localized and associated with a specific facility, such as an industrial facility where these chemicals were manufactured or used in other products, or by an airfield that used the chemicals for firefighting. People may also be exposed to PFAS through food, food packaging, consumer products and household dust.

How are PFAS regulated?

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in 2024 established legally enforceable limits, known as Maximum Contaminant Levels (MCLs),  for six PFAS compounds in drinking water. Those limits take effect in 2029, but IRWD already meets those standards.

Visit EPA.gov/pfas for a complete list of resources about PFAS and what the EPA is doing to address them.

In California, the State Water Resources Control Board Division of Drinking Water has set notification and response levels while further research and analysis are conducted to determine the need for enforceable drinking water MCLs. Visit waterboards.ca.gov/pfas for more information and links to other helpful resources. 

What is IRWD doing to protect its drinking water from PFAS?

Irvine Ranch Water District continually monitors and tests its drinking water to ensure it is safe, and is working with other water utilities and the Orange County Water District to better understand impacts of PFAS in the groundwater basin and appropriate treatment technologies.

In 2018, IRWD proactively tested for PFAS and voluntarily shut down one well that had tested positive. That well has remained out of service since then. A project with OCWD to build a groundwater treatment system at the well is nearing completion. Once completed, the system will remove all PFAS from the water drawn at that location and enable the well to be brought back into service.

PFAS have been detected in water throughout the United States. To learn more about PFAS from the United States Environmental Protection Agency and the California State Water Resources Control Board, please see epa.gov/pfas and waterboards.ca.gov/pfas/.

For a complete history of PFAS actions under the Toxic Substances Control Act, visit: https://www.epa.gov/assessing-and-managing-chemicals-under-tsca/risk-management-and-polyfluoroalkyl-substances-pfas

Updated: May 14, 2024