As part of the Unregulated Contaminants Monitoring Rule (UCMR), the EPA began monitoring for PFAS (per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances) several years ago. PFAS are a group of chemicals that have been in production since the 1940s and have been widely used in common items like nonstick cookware and stain-resistant fabrics, as well as in firefighting foams and products. As a class, these compounds break down slowly and can therefore persist in the environment.
In communities where PFAS have become a concern for drinking water, problems are typically associated with a specific facility — for example, a military base where firefighting training occurs or a factory where PFAS are produced. Springfield does not have any known sources of PFAS.
However, because of the pervasive nature of these chemicals and out of an abundance of caution, in 2019 SUB voluntarily developed a PFAS sampling plan. We continue to monitor for 29 PFAS using analytical methods that can detect a broad range of PFAS at extremely low concentrations.
In 2022, SUB sampled at all five entry points, which is where treated water enters the distribution system. Of the five points tested, one (SP/Maia) yielded detectable, but extremely low, concentrations of PFAS compounds. Additionally, Rainbow Water District voluntarily tested its entry points and found the presence of PFAS compounds at extremely low concentrations at its Chase wellfield, with results summarized in the table below.
The State of Oregon has adopted a combined health advisory level (HAL) for a group of four PFAS. SUB’s and Rainbow Water District’s results for those compounds were far below the state HAL. There are currently no federal regulatory limits set for PFAS compounds, but EPA is in the development phase of rulemaking. Because we take great care in protecting the quality of our source water, SUB is continuing to conduct voluntary sampling. We are closely monitoring new developments in PFAS regulations and will work with Oregon Health Authority to ensure that we continue to provide safe, high-quality water to our customers. Please visit SUB’s PFAS Information Page at subutil.com for general information about PFAS and to learn about actions SUB has taken to address PFAS and keep your water safe and of the highest standard for water quality.