According to a recent news release from the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources, over two dozen public water systems in West Virginia have detectable levels of so-called "forever chemicals." The test results revealed the presence of perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) compounds in the finished drinking water in 27 water systems across the state.
Among these systems, 19 had detections above at least one of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) proposed regulatory standards. The study's scope included a total of 37 water systems in the state.
The West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources (DHHR) and the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection are collaborating with the affected water systems to evaluate treatment processes and strategize the best approaches for removing these compounds. They are also working on identifying funding options to alleviate the burden on customers.
Dr. Matthew Christiansen, state health officer and commissioner of DHHR’s Bureau for Public Health, stated in a news release that "while a determination of risk for consumers cannot be made based on the preliminary results of this study, this data helps us plan for when final testing is complete and the EPA rules are finalized."
The EPA has proposed regulating certain PFAS compounds at a maximum level of 4 parts per trillion and requires public water systems to monitor and notify consumers if PFAS levels exceed regulation standards. The EPA expects to finalize this rule by the end of 2023.
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