OCWD is first public lab in California to achieve PFAS detection certification

Orange County Water District’s (OCWD; the District) Philip L. Anthony Water Quality Laboratory is the first public agency laboratory in California to achieve state certification to analyze for per- and polyfluoralkly substances (PFAS) in drinking water by Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Method 533. Certification was granted by the Environmental Laboratory Accreditation Program (ELAP) administered by the State Water Resources Control Board.

The lab previously became the first public agency lab to receive ELAP certification for PFAS analysis via EPA Method 537. Together, these certifications enable the lab to analyze 29 PFAS targets in drinking water.

“This EPA certification is a testament to OCWD’s ongoing commitment to exceptional water quality,” said OCWD President Steve Sheldon. “We’ve made significant investments to address PFAS and our technical staff have done an excellent job leading this effort. From monitoring and testing, to implementing the nation’s largest PFAS pilot project, to building treatment plants throughout the county—we’re doing everything we can.”

PFAS are a group of thousands of manmade chemicals that are used to make items non-stick and/or resistant to water, oil, and stains. They are also used in a number of industrial processes and firefighting activities. Chemical manufacturers are the original source of PFAS chemicals. Over the past several years, the science on PFAS and its impacts to the environment and public health have prompted regulatory actions.

PFAS have been detected in the Orange County Groundwater Basin, which supplies 77% of the drinking water supply to north and central Orange County. Despite playing no role in releasing PFAS into the environment, cities and water agencies must find ways to remove it from their local water supplies. Water agencies in OCWD’s service area adhere to PFAS federal health advisory and state response levels and provide drinking water that meets all state and federal regulations.

The Philip L. Anthony Water Quality Laboratory supports OCWD’s mission to provide clean, reliable groundwater to 19 cities and water districts. In addition to state certification to analyze both PFAS methods, the lab has received acceptance into the EPA Laboratory Approval Program to perform PFAS analyses under both EPA Method 533 and 537.1 for the UCMR 5 program, with monitoring set to begin in 2023.

For more information about how OCWD is addressing PFAS in Orange County, please visit the PFAS education center.

About Orange County Water District

The Orange County Water District is committed to enhancing Orange County’s groundwater quality and reliability in an environmentally friendly and economical manner. The following cities rely on the groundwater basin, managed by OCWD, to provide 77 percent of its water demands: Anaheim, Buena Park, Costa Mesa, Cypress, Fountain Valley, Fullerton, Garden Grove, Huntington Beach, Irvine, La Palma, Los Alamitos, Newport Beach, Orange, Placentia, Santa Ana, Seal Beach, Stanton, Tustin, Villa Park, Westminster, and Yorba Linda.

For more information about OCWD, please visit ocwd.com, like @OCWaterDistrict on Facebook, follow @OCWDWaterNews on Twitter, follow @OCWD on Instagram, and follow Orange County Water District on LinkedIn.

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