Understanding PFAS: Protecting Our Water Supply
October 20, 2023
Eastside Utility is dedicated to ensuring that the water you and your family rely on is clean and safe. In our ongoing commitment to this mission, we want to shed light on Per- and Polyfluoroalkyl (PFAS) chemicals, what they are, where they come from, and how we are following the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) sampling requirements to monitor these emerging contaminants.
What is PFAS?
Per- and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances, or PFAS, are a group of over 5,000 compounds manufactured and used in the U.S. since the 1940s. This diverse family of chemicals is extensively used in producing various consumer goods ranging from water-resistant clothing, non-stick cookware, and food packaging to stain-resistant carpets.
Why is PFAS a concern?
PFAS compounds are released into the environment during the manufacturing, usage, and disposal of PFAS-containing products. PFAS contains tight chemical bonds that are difficult to break down in the environment.
What is being done to protect my drinking water?
Regulations on PFAS are in the process of being finalized at the national level. The EPA expects a national primary drinking water regulation on 6 types of PFAS with enforced concentration limits to be finalized in early 2024.
Some common types of PFAS (PFOA and PFOS) were voluntarily phased out by U.S. manufacturers in the mid-2000s, although there are a limited number of ongoing uses, and these chemicals remain in the environment due to their persistence and lack of degradation.
TDEC is conducting a statewide sampling initiative to test all public drinking water sources for 29 PFAS compounds established by the EPA's Unregulated Contaminate Monitoring Rule 5 (UCMR 5). Eastside Utility is participating in this sampling initiative and reporting results to TDEC. TDEC will publicly publish assessment results as they become available. The results of this extensive sampling effort will be made accessible to the public through TDEC's dedicated PFAS webpage at https://www.tn.gov/environment/policy/pfas.
Eastside Utility recognizes the importance of safe and clean drinking water, and we are following the guidance of TDEC and the EPA regarding how to move forward.