MWA tests for PFAS to assure water quality
Lab results and data collected from water samples tested this past fall reveal that MWA tap water is clear of potentially harmful Per- and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances (PFAS). These lab results were at the heart of an EPD Report the MWA received recently, as one of many public utilities across the state whose results are included in the “PFAS Study” conducted by the state regulatory agency.
One of the most effective means for removing PFAS and other similar compounds from drinking water during water treatment is using Granular Activated Carbon (GAC) as a part of filtration, which the MWA has done since opening its Frank C. Amerson, Jr. Water Treatment Plant in 2000. As treated water passes through the GAC media, PFAS and related compounds are filtered through absorption.
While costly, GAC filter media greatly reduces the chances of PFAS exceeding the new proposed EPA mandated levels in finished drinking water. The MWA is one of only a few water utilities in Georgia that utilize the beneficial GAC filter media as a part of treatment during its drinking water production process. GAC is effective not only in the removal of PFAS, but this filtration method is useful in the removal of certain organic substances that might affect drinking water taste and odor. GAC and additional treatment techniques utilized at the Amerson Water Treatment Plant can be attributed to the MWA being judged by the American Water Works Association (AWWA) as producing the Best Tasting Drinking Water in North America in 2009.
PFAS are a large, complex group of synthetic chemicals that are used in several consumer products.
These synthetic chemical compounds are among the ingredients found in the manufacturing of everyday products, such as stain-resistant, heat-resistant, or water repellent clothing and apparel. PFAS also are found in cleaning products, non-stick cookware, shampoo, dental floss, and more. PFAS can be found in the environment as well, such as in water, fish, soil, and even the atmosphere.
People can be exposed to PFAS by consuming contaminated water and food, although the human health effects of low levels of exposure to PFAS are uncertain. However, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) has outlined a host of health effects associated with PFAS exposure, such as cancer, liver damage, decreased fertility, and increased risk of asthma and thyroid diseases.
For that reason, the MWA is vigilant in its monitoring of PFAS and other potentially harmful substances that could be detected in its drinking water. The Authority’s annual Water Quality Report, or Consumer Confidence Report (CCR), is published each year prior to July 1, to keep customers informed of “what is in their drinking water and why.”
“The lab results and data collected on PFAS from our most recent testing, which were included in the state’s PFAS Study, provide good news for our customers,” says Gary McCoy, MWA Director of Water Treatment. “We continually take water samples and conduct water quality tests at a rate that’s 10 times what’s required by our regulatory agencies, because we want to do all we can to make sure our drinking water is clean and safe for our customers.”
Media Contact: Chris Wood, Ph.D.
E: firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com
MWA Contact: Gary McCoy, Director of Water Treatment