COLUMBUS -- Ohio EPA announced Wednesday that it has received the final testing results for the presence of certain per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) in drinking water from Ohio’s public water systems, bringing to a close the Agency’s statewide sampling initiative of almost 1,550 public water systems under Ohio’s PFAS Action Plan.
Although there are currently no national drinking water standards for PFAS nor mandates for its testing, Governor Mike DeWine called for the development of the PFAS Action Plan last year to identify the extent of PFAS chemicals in Ohio’s public drinking water systems. The testing found only two public water systems in the state with PFAS levels above the state’s action level.
“There is still a lot that experts don’t yet know about the dangers of PFAS compounds in drinking water, but as a result of this work, we can say with certainty that these chemicals are not widely contaminating Ohio’s public water systems,” said Governor DeWine. “We want Ohioans to feel confident that their water is safe, and I’m pleased that these testing results can provide some peace of mind.”
“We greatly appreciate Governor DeWine’s leadership in this area,” said Ohio EPA Director Laurie Stevenson. “Ohio now joins the ranks of only a handful of other states that have taken on such a comprehensive sampling initiative. We now have very important data that can help us as we work with our public water systems to ensure they can continue to provide safe drinking water to their customers.”
The water sampling began in February 2020 with the goal to test Ohio’s public water systems serving communities, schools, child care facilities, and mobile home parks by the end of the year. Through this initiative, nearly 94 percent of the nearly 1,550 public drinking water systems tested revealed no detection of PFAS compounds. Low levels of PFAS compounds, well below the health advisory level, were detected in six percent of systems.
In the two water systems found with elevated PFAS levels, immediate steps were taken to identify alternatives to ensure safe drinking water. Ohio EPA will continue to work with these systems on regular testing to monitor PFAS levels and to identify options to address any potential public health risks. Ohio EPA is also continuing to monitor the water systems with low PFAS levels to ensure levels don’t begin to rise.
PFAS are manmade chemicals used in products such as carpeting, upholstery, cookware, food packaging, and firefighting foam. PFAS can be transported through rainwater run-off or migrate through soil, posing potential contamination threats to surface and ground waters.
Ohio EPA provided the test results to each public water system and published the data publicly on Ohio’s interactive PFAS website, pfas.ohio.gov. For more information on PFAS and Ohio’s PFAS Action Plan, visit pfas.ohio.gov.
OHIO ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY
The Ohio Environmental Protection Agency was created in 1972 to consolidate efforts to protect and improve air quality, water quality and waste management in Ohio. Since then, air pollutants dropped by as much as 90 percent; large rivers meeting standards improved from 21 percent to 89 percent; and hundreds of polluting, open dumps were replaced with engineered landfills and an increased emphasis on waste reduction and recycling.