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June 2021 – Virginia Department of Health PFAS in Drinking Water Study

Virginia Department of Health PFAS in Drinking Water Study

During the 2021 Session of the Virginia General Assembly, a budget amendment was passed that included $60,000 in additional funding for the Virginia Department of Health (VDH) Office of Drinking Water (ODW) to continue its study of the occurrence of perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA), perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS), and other per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) in the Commonwealth’s public drinking water and to develop recommendations for specific maximum contaminant levels for PFOA, PFOS, and other PFAS for inclusion in regulations of the Board of Health applicable to waterworks.

House Bill (HB) 586, 2020 Acts of Assembly Chapter 611, requires the State Health Commissioner to convene a work group  to study the occurrence of six specific PFAS, including PFOA, PFOS, perfluorobutyrate (PFBA), perfluoroheptanoic acid (PFHpA), perfluorohexane sulfonate (PFHxS), perfluorononanoic acid (PFNA) and other PFAS, as deemed necessary, that may be present in drinking water from waterworks, identify possible sources of such contamination, and evaluate approaches to regulating PFAS. The PFAS Work Group may recommend maximum contaminant levels (MCLs) for inclusion in regulations of the Board of Health applicable to waterworks.

The PFAS Work Group will be represented by a wide range of organizations including Virginia Department of Environmental Quality, the Virginia chapter of the American Water Works Association, Aqua Virginia, the Virginia Water Environment Association, American Chemistry Council, Mission H2O, the Virginia League of Conservation Voters, and other water authorities and stakeholders. 

The PFAS Work Group is further divided into subgroups. Those are: PFAS Health & Toxicology, PFAS Occurrence and Monitoring, PFAS Policy and Regulation and PFAS Treatment Technologies.

Like other states evaluating how best to implement a PFAS response program, the goal of the Virginia PFAS Work Group is to take a multi-disciplined approach to understand potential sources of PFAS contamination and determine how best to regulate PFAS in drinking water.

ODW has selected and contracted with Advanced Environmental Laboratories, Inc. (AEL) in Jacksonville, Florida, for analytical services, and sampling has commenced. At this writing, the study includes 40 waterworks out of the 50 waterworks who were invited to participate in the sampling study. 

Once the data have been received and have passed the quality assurance/quality control review, VDH will compile a data table of results sometime in mid-July. That information will be shared with participating waterworks 1 week prior to it being shared with the public and posted to ODW’s website. VDH’s final report will be due to the General Assembly by this fall. 

For more information, check out: 

Per- and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances (PFAS) in Drinking Water – Drinking Water (virginia.gov)

VA PFAS Sampling Training Webinar VA PFAS Sampling Training Unlisted – YouTube

David Blye, CEAC

Principal Chemist

Ann Marie Gathright

Account Executive