Group Utilities Prepared to Comply with New PFAS Regulations

Following the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) adoption of a new National Primary Drinking Water Regulation for certain per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) today (new PFAS regulation), California Water Service Group (Group) confirmed that it believes its subsidiaries are well positioned to treat potentially impacted water sources and to meet the EPA’s five-year compliance timeline.

Under the new PFAS regulation, EPA established maximum contaminant levels (MCL) of 4 parts per trillion (ppt) for both PFOA and PFOS; MCLs of 10 ppt for PFHxS, PFNA, and GenX; and a combined Hazard Index of 1.0 for PFBS, PFHxS, PFNA, and GenX. Generally, PFAS are manmade compounds that are found in a number of everyday products; these compounds are soluble in water and can travel long distances. Under the new PFAS regulation, water utilities with impacted water systems across the country are required to monitor for these PFAS by 2027 and to comply with the MCLs and Hazard Index by 2029.

Group’s utilities Cal Water, Hawaii Water, New Mexico Water, and Washington Water have a rigorous, coordinated water quality assurance program, and the utilities have protocols in place to test and monitor the water they deliver to customers. In California and Washington, Group’s utilities have been complying with previously issued PFAS guidelines issued by State regulators.

Cal Water, Hawaii Water, and New Mexico Water have tested all of their active water sources for a number of PFAS, including the six addressed in the new regulation. Washington Water Service (Washington Water) has tested all of its Group A water system sources, which are water sources subject to the new PFAS regulation. The company began monitoring all of its sources for these PFAS before it was required to do so under the new PFAS regulation, because it believed it was the right thing to do.

“Protecting our customers’ health and safety is our highest priority, and we have long supported EPA’s establishment of national drinking water standards for the most common PFAS,” said Martin A. Kropelnicki, Group Chairman & CEO. “While we did not put the PFAS in the water, we are committed to treating it in accordance with all applicable regulations. Our team has already evaluated the impact of the EPA’s proposed regulations so that we could be better prepared to comply with the final set, and we are moving forward to bring any affected sources into compliance with the new MCLs and Hazard Index.”

Beyond the new PFAS regulation, Group believes that a comprehensive regulatory approach is needed to properly address PFAS entering water supplies in the United States, including measures such as point-of-use restrictions on PFAS manufacturers, legislation that prohibits the sale and use of certain PFAS-containing products, certification for accurate PFAS testing methods, and establishment of a publicly available database to monitor PFAS sources entering water supplies. Additionally, Group filed lawsuits to hold PFAS manufacturers financially responsible for the costs of monitoring and treating water for PFAS and is pursuing grant funding, where available, to help reduce the financial impact of treatment on its utilities’ customers.

The full name of PFOA is perfluorooctanoic acid, of PFOS is perfluorooctane sulfonic acid, of PFHxS is perfluorohexanesulfonic acid, of PFNA is perfluorononanoic acid, of GenX is hexafluoropropylene oxide dimer acid and its ammonium salt, and of PFBS is perfluorobutane sulfonate.