Making State and National news, there is no doubt that PFAS is top of mind for water experts and consumers alike. To provide you with an updated snapshot of the many moving parts of this complex issue, let’s take a look at what’s currently in the PFAS pipeline:
This month Governor Gavin Newsom signed a bill to establish the Safe and Affordable Drinking Water Fund, which aims to improve access to safe drinking water for residents in disadvantaged communities. Approximately 1 million Californians currently lack access to safe drinking water, the vast majority of whom live in small rural communities that rely on private drinking water wells or poorly maintained water systems contaminated by harmful constituents such as arsenic, nitrates, and 1,2,3-TCP.
This month Babcock Labs held a sold-out TEAM Event on PFAS regulatory updates and monitoring insights. Our guest speakers, Southern California Section Chief Jeff O’Keefe (Division of Drinking Water, State Water Resources Control Board) and Drinking Water Practice Leader Rob Little (Woodard & Curran) shared their expertise and answered attendee questions. During his presentation, Mr. O’Keefe reminded attendees that Phases II and III of the State Board’s Phased Investigation Approach are forthcoming, planned for Summer and Fall of this year.
Last month the Division of Drinking Water and the Division of Water Quality announced the State Water Resources Control Board’s phased investigation approach to PFAS. It is the intention of the Board to begin the investigation by collecting PFAS detection data at 31 airports and 252 municipal solid waste landfills. These facilities have the potential to impact over 1,320 surrounding drinking water wells and drinking water sources.
Lead testing was in the mainstream news yet again this month after a report gave California a “C+” for its policies to protect children from lead in drinking water at school. In fairness to California, it was one of the only states to receive a “passing” grade, as 22 of the 32 states analyzed received an “F” letter grade. If you’re a parent like me, however, you probably feel like a C+ report card is hardly worth celebrating.
But what exactly did the report base its assessment on?
Promised federal regulatory actions from the EPA, the addition of PFOA and PFOS to Proposition 65, and phased implementation of the Water Board’s new Action Plan all point to one thing: PFAS liability for California.