What’s Next in Water Quality?
By Katie Porter
THE END OF 2019 BROUGHT A LOT OF ACTIVITY with the
California State Water Resources Control Board (State Board)
updating guidelines for perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) and
perfluorooctanesulfonic acid (PFOS) in drinking water and U.S.
Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) proposing revisions to
the Lead and Copper Rule (LCR).
The updated state guidelines lowered the current notification
levels from 14 parts per trillion (ppt) to 5.1 ppt for PFOA and from
13 ppt to 6.5 ppt for PFOS. The State Board also requested that
the California Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment
(OEHHA) develop public health goals (PHGs) for both PFOA
and PFOS, signaling the beginning of the process of establishing
regulatory standards for these chemicals.
AB 756 authorized the State Board to order water systems
to monitor for the broader group of per- and polyfluoroalkyl
substances (PFAS) and report their detections. Drinking water
sources with PFAS levels that exceed the response level are
either to be taken out of service or the water system must
18 SOURCE winter 2020
provide public notice of the exceedance level. That law took
effect on January 1, 2020.
PFAS are certain to continue to be a hot topic in 2020.
Outstanding questions relate to the relative source contribution of
drinking water to PFAS, the persistence in treatment media used to
remove PFAS from drinking water and biosolids from wastewater
treatment facilities and the movement to potentially designate
PFAS as a hazardous substance under the Comprehensive
Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act
(CERCLA or Superfund) resulting in water systems being liable
Lead and Copper
The Lead and Copper Rule is a Safe Drinking Water Act regulation
and generally viewed as one of the most complicated of EPA’s
drinking water rules. Due to the events in Flint, Michigan, there
is a higher level of public awareness for this issue. EPA’s website
for the proposal (https://www.epa.gov/ground-water-and-drinking-water/
proposed-revisions-lead-and-copper-rule) has links to a helpful
infographic, a summary of the proposal, and a side-by-side
DRIPS & DROPLETS