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Laurel, Md. – April 10, 2024 – WSSC Water’s comprehensive test results for per-and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) are below new U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) final rule released today on several types of PFAS in drinking water. Commonly called forever chemicals, PFAS are manmade compounds used since the 1940s in household and commercial products, including firefighting foams, cookware, cosmetics, food wrappings, stain/water-resistant clothing, and carpet and furniture treatments, to name a few. Because these compounds do not easily break down, they end up in drinking water supplies and wastewater. 

For two of the most common PFAS compounds, perfluorooctanesulfonic acid (PFOS) and perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA), the EPA today set a Maximum Contaminant Level (MCL) of 4.0 parts per trillion (ppt). For perspective, four parts per trillion is equivalent to one drop of water in five Olympic-sized swimming pools. The EPA also set a MCL of 10 ppt for PFHxS, PFNA and HFPO-DA (commonly called GenX). Additionally, EPA finalized a Hazard Index that creates an enforceable drinking water standard for any mixture of two or more of the following four PFAS compounds: PFNA, PFHxS, PFBS and HFPO-DA.  

“We want our 1.9 million customers to know that they can trust their taps - our drinking water meets the final standards,” said WSSC Water General Manager and CEO Kishia L. Powell. “As an organization dedicated to protecting public health, we are committed to doing everything in our power to ensure our 106-year track record of water quality excellence continues.” 

 PFAS Chart as of April 2024

While the final drinking water standards do not take effect until 2029, WSSC Water wants customers to be informed about the new EPA regulations, the levels found in our drinking water, and the steps we are taking to address the issue to ensure superior water quality continues to flow to the taps of homes and businesses in Prince George’s and Montgomery counties.    

Proactive PFAS Tests Below New Regulations 

WSSC Water has been proactively testing its drinking water for PFAS compounds quarterly since January 2020 at its Potomac and Patuxent water filtration plants, which provide drinking water to our customers in both counties. Our latest test results show an annual average that is below EPA’s final PFAS rule. Detailed test results are posted here. 

Polluters Should Pay 

While the measured amount of PFAS in WSSC Water’s drinking water is low and complies with the final rule, additional water treatment may be necessary to maintain an adequate margin of safety due to river water quality fluctuations and to meet possible future EPA regulations. The cost to make treatment changes could be substantial. WSSC Water estimates it would cost between $1.4 billion and nearly $3 billion to upgrade one of its two water filtration plants. 


Products that contain PFAS
For water utilities that meet the final rule, like WSSC Water, the EPA estimates that the vast majority of PFAS exposure for a typical person comes from these types of products.

“The right thing to do is to hold the entities responsible for polluting our environment with PFAS financially responsible for removing their compounds from our water and wastewater,” said WSSC Water Commission Chair Regina Y. Speed-Bost. “Given the substantial costs of upgrading treatment plants nationwide, the problem is larger than any system should be required to bear alone and the federal government should step in to help fund upgrades. Costs should not be passed on to customers.” 

 Where Does PFAS Come From? 

For water utilities that meet the final rule, like WSSC Water, the EPA estimates that the vast majority of PFAS exposure for a typical person comes from consumer products, including some deodorants, contact lenses, dental floss, toilet paper and feminine products. People can also be exposed to PFAS by eating foods containing them, especially fish. Because PFAS do not break down easily, they are found in the air, rainwater and drinking water supplies – like rivers, lakes and underground aquifers.  

“We want our customers to know that we do not produce a single drop of PFAS in our treatment process,” added Powell. “We continue to advocate for regulation of PFAS at the source, placing the burden of protecting consumers and the environment on those who manufacture or use PFAS products.” 

Reduce PFAS Exposure & Help Protect Drinking Water Sources 

To reduce exposure to PFAS, avoid buying non-stick cookware and stain-resistant furniture, carpeting and other products containing PFAS. Look for ‘fluoro’ or ‘perfluoro’ in a list of ingredients or ask the manufacturer. Limit eating foods packaged in materials that use PFAS, like microwave popcorn bags, fast food boxes and bakery bags. Avoid personal care products with PFAS, including certain types of dental floss, nail polish, facial moisturizers and cosmetics. Limiting the use of products containing PFAS will help prevent more PFAS from entering the environment and drinking water supplies. For more information on PFAS, including a list of PFAS-free products, visit 

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.