The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is set to issue new regulations for per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, more commonly known as PFAS, in January 2024.
PFAS do not originate in drinking water. They are man-made compounds that have been widely used in the manufacturing of clothing, sealants and stains, furniture fabrics, Teflon™-coated products, food packaging, and other materials since the 1940s. They are also used in firefighting foam, carpet manufacturing and other industrial processes. When products containing PFAS are used and discarded, they can release PFAS into the environment, including drinking water sources.
EPA continually studies unregulated substances like PFAS to determine if there is new scientific data to support adding them to the list of regulated constituents in drinking water. Tampa Bay Water and its member utilities are participating in an EPA study to find out if PFAS are in our drinking water supplies.
Over the next 12 months, Tampa Bay Water and its member utilities will test drinking water supplies to determine the annual average detectable levels, if any, under various seasonal conditions. With EPA’s final regulations and the annual average data from the EPA study, Tampa Bay Water can make treatment decisions. If treatment is needed, we will know where, how much and what type is needed.
Separately, Tampa Bay Water recently completed a Water Quality Study that provides the framework for treating PFAS using technologies recognized by EPA as the most effective. Once the EPA issues its final regulations and the annual average data from the EPA study are known, Tampa Bay Water can make treatment recommendations to its board of directors.
Find out more at tampabaywater.org/pfas.