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EPA Unveils Nationwide Standards for PFAS in Drinking Water

April 12, 2024

Wilmington Officials Respond to EPA’s Proposed Regulations on PFAS in Drinking Water

Wilmington’s Mayor Mike Purzycki and Public Works Commissioner Kelly Williams have issued a statement in response to the recent announcement by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regarding new regulations for perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) and perfluorooctanesulfonic acid (PFOS) in drinking water. These regulations, introduced on April 10, include additional measures set to be implemented by April 2029.

Mayor Purzycki emphasized the city’s commitment to informing water customers about the EPA’s regulations and the actions taken to address them. While PFAS chemicals have been detected in various sources, including drinking water, Wilmington’s water treatment processes do not utilize PFAS. Commissioner Williams highlighted the completion of further testing for 29 PFAS compounds under the EPA’s Fifth Unregulated Contaminant Monitoring Rule (UCMR 5), with results available through the EPA CDX and to be included in the 2023 Consumer Confidence Report.

File Photo: Public Works Commissioner Kelly Williams gives remarks Southbridge Wilmington Wetland Park Dedication Ceremony Wednesday, Oct. 19, 2022, at the Wilmington Wetland Park in Wilmington, DE. Photo By Saquan Stimpson

The city’s immediate response to the EPA’s proposed regulations involves suspending the enforcement of the residency requirement for current and future union employees until further negotiations are held. This decision comes after the police union filed an unfair labor practice charge, prompting the State’s Labor Mediation Board to direct the city to reopen contract negotiations concerning the residency requirement.

The city remains committed to providing clean and safe drinking water to its residents and will continue to collaborate with regulatory agencies to address PFAS concerns effectively.

For further details and FAQs on PFAS and drinking water, please visit the links provided

Understanding PFAS/PFOA:

PFAS/PFOA are synthetic chemicals found in numerous everyday products, including nonstick cookware, water-repellant clothing, cosmetics, and firefighting foam. Despite efforts to phase out some PFAS compounds, they persist in the environment, with exposure primarily occurring through consumer goods rather than drinking water.

PFAS History:

Originating in the 1940s for industrial use, PFAS became widespread due to their durability and versatility. Over time, concerns have grown regarding their health and environmental impacts, leading to increased regulatory attention and efforts to mitigate their effects.

File Photo: City of Wilmington skyline. Photo by Certified Drone Pilot Saquan Stimpson

City of Wilmington’s Actions:

The City of Wilmington has proactively addressed PFAS concerns by conducting water sampling and testing for various PFAS compounds under the EPA’s Unregulated Contaminant Monitoring Rule (UCMR). These efforts aim to gather comprehensive data, guide decision-making, and ensure transparency with customers.

Steps to Reduce Exposure:

Individuals can minimize PFAS exposure by making informed choices about consumer products, opting for PFAS-free alternatives whenever possible. Additionally, staying informed about federal and state guidelines and supporting companies committed to PFAS reduction can contribute to environmental protection efforts.

Additional Resources:

For more information on PFAS and drinking water standards, resources are available from the EPA, CDC, and the State of Delaware.

Wilmington remains dedicated to delivering safe, reliable drinking water to its residents while actively addressing PFAS concerns through ongoing monitoring, collaboration, and strategic planning.