Jupiter Possesses Best Available Treatment Technologies to Address PFAS
In recent months, significant media attention has been directed toward the potential existence of harmful contaminants known as PFAS in water supplies.
Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) are a group of synthetic, manmade chemicals that have been manufactured since the 1940s. They are used in various industrial and consumer products including firefighting foams, food wrappers, clothing and furniture. Common household applications included non-stick cookware, water resistant clothing and stain resistant coatings for furniture. PFAS chemicals are made up of carbon and fluorine chemical chains forming one of the strongest chemical bonds in nature making them very stable and resistant to degradation. US Manufacturers voluntarily phased out their production; however, these chemicals continue to persist and build-up in the environment because they do not break down easily. The environmental persistence of PFAS has led to its detection in water supplies around the United States with the highest concentrations in areas near manufacturing facilities that used PFAS chemicals, military installations, and/or firefighting training facilities.
Research over the past decade has indicated that PFAS chemicals have potential toxicological effects in humans prompting the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to take concrete steps towards addressing PFAS contamination in water supplies and protecting public health. In 2016, the USEPA established health advisories levels (HLAs) of 70 parts per trillion to provide Americans, including the most sensitive populations, with a margin of protection from a lifetime of exposure from drinking water.
The Town of Jupiter’s Water Utility is vigilantly committed to maintaining PFAS levels below current HLAs. The Utility has been engaged in PFAS research over the past 7 years beginning with participation in EPA’s Third Unregulated Contaminant Monitoring Rule. At that time, the Utility conducted 2 separate screenings for 6 different PFAS chemicals. All PFAS chemicals were undetected in Jupiter’s treated drinking water, which can be attributed to reverse osmosis (RO) and nanofiltration (NF) membrane technologies currently in use at the water treatment facility. In fact, multiple research agencies have demonstrated that RO and NF provide significant and reliable removal for PFAS compounds making it one of the best available technologies for water treatment. The Town of Jupiter’s Utility continues to screen for and not detect such contaminants in its drinking water, and has confidence that its current treatment is robust and protective against exposure to PFAS.
Illustrative diagram of the how Jupiter’s membrane water treatment technologies work to ensure residents receive a very safe and reliable drinking water.