Test tubes in lab
Tampa Bay Water Completes First Quarter Testing in EPA Study
Water Quality, | | Return

Tampa Bay Water and its member utilities are participating in the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) nationwide fifth Unregulated Contaminant Monitoring Rule (UCMR 5) study. The first of four consecutive quarters of Tampa Bay Water’s voluntary testing to determine if per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) are present in our drinking water has been completed. EPA is studying 29 PFAS , two of which are perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) and perfluoro octanesulfonate (PFOS).

PFAS are currently not regulated by EPA or the state of Florida. EPA proposed maximum contaminant levels for PFOA and PFOS each at 4 parts per trillion (ppt) in March 2023 and is expected to release final regulations in early 2024.

The study involves collecting samples at all locations where Tampa Bay Water delivers water to its member utilities, and member utilities collect samples from their distribution systems. The first sampling event was completed in July 2023.

Click here for the first quarter results from the EPA study.

“PFAS do not originate in drinking water supplies, but they can get into the environment through the everyday use and discarding of items containing PFAS,” said Steve Fleischacker, Tampa Bay Water’s water quality services senior manager.

Tampa Bay Water will continue testing at our delivery locations with the next sampling event in October, followed by events in January and April, which will allow us to determine annual average detectable levels. EPA’s proposed limits are expected to be based on annual averages, so it’s important to know how PFAS levels vary from in varying seasons.

“Once we have EPA’s final regulations and the annual average data from the EPA study, we can make treatment decisions. If treatment is needed, we need to know where, how much and what type is needed before we make treatment recommendations to our board of directors,” said Fleischacker.

Tampa Bay Water recently completed a Water Quality Study that provides the framework for treating PFAS at each of our delivery to our member’s systems. If treatment is needed, Tampa Bay Water will use technology recognized by EPA as the most effective for removing PFAS.

Learn more about PFAS and Tampa Bay Water’s participation in the study.