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Venice reassures residents about PFAS compounds in drinking water

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The City’s Drinking Water and PFAS

What are PFAS? Per-and polyfluoroalkyl (PFAS), also commonly known as “forever chemicals,” are byproducts of the manufacturing processes used to make non-stick items, waterproofing, and stain-resistant products. They are also found in firefighting foam. The major concern is that these compounds are being found in water sources near manufacturing plants and firefighter academies. Medically, exposure to PFAS over long periods of time can increase the risk of thyroid cancer, weaken childhood immunity, and other ailments.

What does this mean for public drinking water systems?

Public water systems will have three years to complete the initial monitoring requirements. They must inform the public of the level of PFAS measured in their drinking water and they must implement solutions to reduce PFAS in their drinking water to levels below the standards within five years. Currently, there are readily available solutions on the market now – granulated activated carbon, ion-exchange, and reverse-osmosis. The City Currently uses Reverse Osmosis to treat your drinking water.

What is the Utilities Department doing regarding PFAS?

The City of Venice is committed to providing meaningful information to address potential concerns to its customers related to PFAS, the forever chemicals. The information provided below is intended to explain some of the important background information needed to understand specific actions the Utilities Department has been taking to address PFAS and other recent news related to PFAS.

In 2013, the United States Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) began to consider regulating these compounds in drinking water as part of their required Unregulated Contaminant Testing program. In this program, utilities are required to test their water for groups of contaminants that the EPA is considering creating rules and monitoring levels for. Recently the EPA has passed directives for all municipalities to begin testing cycles for 6 PFAS compounds and have set maximum contaminant levels (MCL) for each. States have the option to accept these levels or to set ones for themselves that are lower and thus more restrictive.

The Venice Utilities Department has been closely monitoring all of these coming changes for years. We tested our drinking water as required during EPA’s Unregulated Contaminant Monitoring Rule (UCMR)-3 testing cycle in 2013. We again tested our drinking water going to our customers and the raw water coming into the Water Treatment Plant in 2020 to have updated results to share with customers. During both testing events the levels of PFAS in our drinking and raw water were found to be below detectable limits (BDL). BDL means that the levels of PFAS were below the outside laboratories’ ability to detect any contaminants in the water with currently available technology.