COLUMBUS – Ohio EPA recently announced that it has begun collecting samples to test for the presence of certain per-and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) in Ohio’s drinking water.
The testing, which is being conducted as part of the statewide PFAS Action Plan, will determine if the chemicals exist in any of Ohio’s 1,500 public water systems. Approximately 250 schools and daycares with their own public water systems are being tested first.
“Children are considered a sensitive population when exposed to environmental contaminants like PFAS,” said Ohio EPA Director Laurie A. Stevenson. “We need to ensure the water that children drink at these schools and daycares is not contaminated with PFAS above the Ohio PFAS Action Levels.”
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.
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 to identify the extent of PFAS chemicals in Ohio’s drinking water systems. If PFAS is detected in a public water system, Ohio EPA will work to help the system to implement preventative and long-term measures to reduce PFAS-related risks.
Ohio EPA will provide the test results to each public water system and publish the data publicly on Ohio’s interactive PFAS website, pfas.ohio.gov under the “data” tab. Once a sample is collected, testing is anticipated to take several weeks due to the complex nature of analytical methods.
Ohio EPA expects to complete sampling of Ohio’s 1,500 public water systems, including those that serve communities, schools, daycares and mobile home parks, by the end of 2020.
Ohio EPA and ODH are also working together to provide the public with educational information and resources regarding PFAS, including information for individuals that have private drinking water wells.
For more information on PFAS and Ohio’s PFAS Action Plan, visit pfas.ohio.gov.