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“In the coming months, Santa Clarita Valley Water Agency (SCV Water) is set to voluntarily remove a number of its groundwater wells from service following a state water agency decision, officials said.

The State Water Resources Control Board – Division of Drinking Water (DDW) decided to lower its response level guidelines for two chemicals found in low concentrations in drinking water across the state, according to SCV Water.

On Feb. 6, DDW lowered its response levels to 10 parts per trillion (ppt) for perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) and 40 parts per trillion (ppt) for perfluorooctanesulfonic acid (PFOS), two chemicals in a family of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS). The state’s previous response level set a combined 70 ppt for PFOA and PFOS.

Exposure to these chemicals may cause adverse health effects, according to SCV Water officials.

These response levels are some of the most stringent guidelines in the nation. For perspective, one part per trillion would be equal to four grains of sugar in an Olympic-size swimming pool.

As a result of earlier sampling, SCV Water voluntarily removed one groundwater well from service when it exceeded the prior response level in May 2019.

All other wells tested well below that level. The updated guidelines are part of DDW’s statewide effort to assess the scope of water supply contamination by PFOS and PFOA.

In addition to revised response levels, DDW has indicated it will issue a new compliance sampling order in the near future.

The revised response level guidelines will be compared to a quarterly running annual average of sample results.

‘In August, we proactively sampled all wells in our system, so we have two-quarters of data we can factor in now, giving us a head start in addressing the new guideline,’ said Matt Stone, general manager of SCV Water. ‘We immediately removed one well from service last year when it exceeded the original response level, and we will take similar actions for additional wells that exceed the revised response level in the coming months.’

Under the new guidelines, as many as 18 of the 44 agency wells could be impacted. SCV Water will tackle this challenge through a combination of new operating strategies and proven treatment options.

The first PFAS treatment facility has started construction and is expected to be in operation by June of this year, restoring three key wells to service, which represent a significant amount of the affected groundwater. The fast-tracked project is estimated to cost $6 million to build and $600,000 annually to operate…”