PFAS: Unregulated Monitoring

PFAS

Per- and Polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) are not yet regulated under the Safe Drinking Water Act or other major U.S. environmental laws such as the Clean Air Act and the Clean Water Act. However, the Washington State Board of Health completed rule-making to regulate PFAS in Group A drinking water systems. The rule sets State Action Levels (SALs) for 5 PFAS, and requires monitoring, record-keeping and reporting, follow-up actions, and other associated requirements for PFAS.

Kitsap Public Utility District’s (KPUD) drinking water remains safe and protected from contaminants. We closely monitor drinking water regulations to ensure that we take actions necessary to protect our customers from the health risks of these chemicals.

Background

In late January 2020, KPUD was notified that the U.S. Navy would be testing groundwater wells around Naval Base Kitsap – Bangor for the presence of 18 different PFAS compounds.

PFAS is an umbrella term for a class of manmade chemicals used in a wide range of products including cookware, upholstery, and fast-food packaging. PFAS compounds are also used in firefighting foams that have been used on military bases.

There have been documented cases where PFAS from these firefighting foams have infiltrated into local aquifers. KPUD has one well in the Navy’s study area, which serves our Avellana water system and another just outside the study area that serves our Brianwood water system.

In February 2020, and again in September 2020, KPUD tested both these wells for the 18 PFAS compounds in the study. Both times, 4 compounds were detected at trace amounts that were all below the State of Washington’s action levels, and EPA’s health advisory levels at the time.

EPA Health Advisory Update

On June 15, 2022, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced updated lifetime health advisories for 4 PFAS compounds in drinking water. A lifetime health advisory identifies the level of a contaminant in drinking water that would protect all people from adverse health effects from a lifetime exposure to PFAS in drinking water. The EPA calculates health advisory levels including a margin of safety and to account for sensitive populations. For these reasons, health advisory levels may be set very low.

Although EPA health advisory are non-enforceable, non-regulatory levels, the EPA is expected to publish enforceable national drinking water standards for PFAS by the end of 2022. KPUD will be testing these wells and keeping users informed of any changes.

Where to Get More Information

For more information about PFAS, including the health and safety risks associated with these compounds, please visit the Washington State Department of Health or EPA websites.

Bangor PFAS Investigation

On January 23rd, 2020, the U.S. Navy notified Kitsap PUD of an upcoming groundwater study they will be conducting in the area around Naval Base Kitsap Bangor. To read more, please click the links below.

NBK Bangor Groundwater Study: PFAS—January 29, 2020 (PDF)

FAQs: NBK Bangor PFAS Study (PDF)