PFOA & PFOS Information
You may have heard recently about a group of chemicals known as per- and poly-fluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) and the impact they have on local water supplies. PFAS stands for per- and poly-fluoroalkyl substances and is the collective term for a large group of synthetic chemicals that includes perfluorooctanoate (PFOA) and perfluorooctanesulfonate (PFOS).
The water provided to the public by the Pico Water District currently meets and exceeds all State and Federal drinking water standards and is therefore safe to drink per California Health and Safety Code section 116681 definition (l).
To help you better understand these substances and the quality of your drinking water, Pico Water District is providing customers with the resources below. This information includes notices distributed to Pico Water District customers, along with links to government agencies and other experts providing relevant details.
Why PFOS and PFOA are now gaining attention
On March 15, 2019 the State Water Resources Control Board (SWRCB) ordered water systems throughout California to test for a group of chemicals known as PFAS over the course of four quarters (12 months).
Pico Water District tests its drinking water supply regularly for unsafe levels of chemicals, radioactivity and bacteria at the source and in the distribution system. All water quality tests are conducted by specially trained technicians working in state-certified laboratories. The table below displays the latest testing results.
Notification Levels on May 9, 2019 - 13 ppt PFOS & 14 ppt PFOA
Notification Levels were lowered on August 23, 2019 to 6.5 ppt PFOS & 5.1 ppt PFOA
Response level is 70 ppt combined
Complying with the new regulations
As of January 1, 2020, the District will be required to inform all customers of any test results for PFOA & PFOS that exceed the Response Level. Recent testing of Pico Water District wells shows detection levels below the current Response Level. However, the Response level may be subject to change in 2020. Pico Water District is exploring all options to address lowering the levels of PFOA and PFOS in the water it delivers to its customers.
Use and Impacts of PFOS and PFOA
These types of compounds were widely used in products that resist heat, oils, stains and water such as stain resistant carpets and fabrics, paints, water resistant clothing, fast-food packaging, non-stick cookware, fire-fighting foams and personal care products. As there have been no definitive studies on the quantities of these chemicals that are safe to consume, specific public health goals or maximum contaminant levels have not yet been established. The State is currently researching the impacts of PFAS in our communities. The testing of PFAS continues to be performed as a precautionary health-based measure to inform the public of possible exposures to PFAS chemicals.
Treating water to reduce PFOs and PFOA exposure on a commercial basis
Granular activated carbon and reverse osmosis filters can lower the amounts of PFOA and PFOS in water supplies. However, filters are only tested and certified to reduce levels to 70 ppt. They are not currently tested to meet the 5.1 parts per trillion for PFOA and 6.5 ppt for PFOS standards. A database of NSF certified water filters can be found online at http://info.nsf.org/Certified/DWTU/Listings.asp?ProductFunction=P473|PFOA Reduction&ProductFunction=P473|PFOS Reduction&ProductType=&submit2=Search
Learn more about PFAS
For additional information about PFAS regulations as it pertains to water supplies, visit the California State Water Resources Control Board Division of Drinking Water website at
The United States Centers for Disease Control provides updated PFAS health information online at https://www.atsdr.cdc.gov/pfas/
The following documents by Pico Water District and other sources offer additional details relating to PFAS, water supplies, testing and regulations: