WSSC Water Resumes Extensive Water Quality Testing to Detect Presence of Per- and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances

Proactive Measure Goes Above and Beyond Federal and State Requirements

| News Release



WSSC Water Encourages Continued Federal and State Action to Protect Drinking Water Supplies

Laurel, Md. – January 24, 2020 – Continuing its mission to protect public health and safety by delivering safe, clean drinking water that meets all strict federal standards, WSSC Water will resume testing its water for the presence of Per- and Polyfluoroalkyl (PFAS) substances at its Potomac and Patuxent Water Filtration Plants. These two plants provide drinking water to 1.8 million residents in Montgomery and Prince George’s counties. This proactive measure goes above and beyond federal and state requirements and follows the release of a study by the Environmental Working Group that reported WSSC Water’s PFAS levels to be 17.8 parts per trillion (ppt), which is well below the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) health advisory level of 70 ppt. One part per trillion is equivalent to one drop of water in 20 olympic-sized swimming pools. The study only tested one location within WSSC Water’s 1,000-square-mile service area.

“WSSC Water is safe and customers should not think twice about the safety of their drinking water,” said General Manager and CEO Carla A. Reid. “Our top priority is public health and safety, and this proactive measure will provide peace of mind to our customers and ensure our water continues to meet all strict federal Safe Drinking Water Act standards. In our 102 years of fulfilling our clean-water mission, WSSC Water has never had a single drinking water quality violation and we pledge this exceptional level of excellence will continue.”

PFAS are a group of man-made chemicals that were developed in the 1940s to be fire, oil, grease, water and stain resistant. The chemicals are found in a wide array of consumer and industrial products, including non-stick cookware, stain repellant, dental floss, cleaning products and cosmetics. Some of the most common means of PFAS entering the environment are discharges from PFAS manufacturing and processing facilities, and from facilities that use the product in large quantities such as airports and military installations.

While there are currently no federal or state regulations mandating the monitoring or treatment of PFAS, WSSC Water conducted extensive water quality testing for six PFAS compounds, from July 2013 through March 2014 and again from April 2015 through October 2017, and found results below the EPA detection limits in its drinking water.

“As champions for clean water, we strongly encourage continued federal and state action to clean up PFAS-contaminated sites to prevent these chemicals from entering drinking water supplies,” added Reid. “We also stand ready to implement any additional robust testing measures should the EPA require water utilities to test for the presence of these compounds.”

WSSC Water has an aggressive water quality testing program – performing 500,000 laboratory tests per year on samples collected at both water filtration plants and 90 different locations spread throughout its service area.

WSSC Water will reach out to the study authors to determine their PFAS sampling and testing protocols. Following stringent protocols are crucial to valid results. WSSC Water’s PFAS testing program will resume in the next few weeks and results will be posted on its website: If WSSC Water customers have questions or concerns about water quality, call 301-206-4002.

WSSC Water is the proud provider of safe, seamless and satisfying water services, making the essential possible every day for our neighbors in Montgomery and Prince George’s counties. We work to deliver our best because it’s what our customers expect and deserve.

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