Grant Reduces Costs of Treatment for Customers
Cal Water has secured a $4.23 million grant from the Water Replenishment District (WRD) to fund expenditures for treatment equipment that removes perfluoroctanesulfonic acid (PFOS) and perfluoroctanoic acid (PFOA) from groundwater in Cal Water's East Los Angeles District. The treatment plant went online in January 2022 and enabled the utility to return an important water supply source to service for area residents and businesses.
Although there is not a maximum contaminant level (MCL) set for PFOS or PFOA yet, Cal Water proactively tested all active water sources across its service areas in recent years to identify how its systems may be impacted by the contaminants. In the cases where detections reached the State Water Resources Control Board's Division of Drinking Water-established response levels, including this well site in East Los Angeles, the utility decided to remove wells from service until treatment could be installed. Cal Water also shared its test results with state and federal regulators to help them gain a better understanding of how the contaminants have impacted water supplies.
PFOS and PFOA are two of the more common contaminants in a broader family of compounds called per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, or PFAS.
"We take our responsibility to deliver a reliable, high-quality water supply to our customers very seriously, and protecting their health and safety has always been our highest priority," said Marty Kropelnicki, Cal Water President and CEO. "That's why we decided to install treatment at this well without assurance of cost recovery, so that we would know our customers will have a reliable supply of water that will meet both current and anticipated future water quality standards."
“We are thankful for WRD's grant funding to help cover the costs of this facility and reduce the financial impact of treatment,” Kropelnicki said.
"The Water Replenishment District is committed to proactively working with water providers in our service area to identify and treat wells that have been contaminated with PFAS," said John D. S. Allen, President of the WRD Board of Directors. "We are proud to partner with Cal Water to ensure safe and clean drinking water to the communities we serve."
Cal Water has filed a lawsuit to hold the manufacturers of PFOS and PFOA responsible and prevent customers from bearing the costs of treatment. Additionally, the utility actively supports legislation designed to address public health concerns regarding the contaminants.
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