3/10/20

MEDIA CONTACTS:

Heidi Griesmer, Ohio EPA, (614) 644-2160
ODH Office of Communication, (614) 644-8562

Ohio EPA Finds First Detection of PFAS in Public Water System

(COLUMBUS, Ohio) – The Ohio Environmental Protection Agency (Ohio EPA) released an update today on the testing of drinking water from public water systems being analyzed for the prevalence of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS). 

The water sampling, which began last month and is focusing first on public wells serving schools and daycares, has produced results for 56 public water systems thus far. The testing did not detect PFAS in 55 systems, however, one public well connected to a Summit County church/daycare tested positive for levels of the PFAS chemical PFHxS. 

The facility, identified by Ohio EPA as the Manchester United Public Church/Here for You Preschool and Child Care Center in New Franklin, was notified of the test results on Monday. The analysis of PFHxS found levels equal to the Ohio EPA action level of 140 parts per trillion (ppt); levels of three other PFAS compounds were detected below the action level. 

Employees reported that they have not used the well for drinking water for approximately 20 years, and therefore, Ohio EPA does not anticipate any immediate response protocols to be issued for the site. Ohio EPA has, however, prioritized the testing of other nearby public water systems, including New Franklin’s administration building, which is adjacent to the church, and the public water systems serving Manchester High School, Manchester Middle School, and Nolley Elementary School. PFAS contaminants were not detected in Manchester High School’s drinking water, and the results for the other buildings are pending. 

Ohio EPA, the Ohio Department of Health, and the Summit County Public Health Department are collaborating to ensure that public water systems and private well owners in the area have information about PFAS, water testing, and treatment. Full testing results for all 56 public water systems can be found at pfas.ohio.gov. The website also includes general information on the treatment and health effects of PFAS, as well as specific information for residents in the New Franklin area (under the current activities tab).

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. Ohio EPA expects to complete sampling of Ohio’s 1,500 public water systems by the end of 2020.

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The Ohio Environmental Protection Agency was created in 1972 to consolidate efforts to protect and improve air quality, water quality and waste management in Ohio. Since then, air pollutants dropped by as much as 90 percent; large rivers meeting standards improved from 21 percent to 89 percent; and hundreds of polluting, open dumps were replaced with engineered landfills and an increased emphasis on waste reduction and recycling.

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