In light of information recently released by the Environmental Protection Agency regarding drinking water contamination by PFAS, the Lewes Board of Public Works wants to assure its customers it is continuing to take this matter very seriously.
In 2021, the BPW participated in a voluntary water study provided by the Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control, and the Office of Drinking Water. These organizations collected samples statewide and tested the samples for two PFAS compounds: perfluorooctanoic acid and perfluorooctane sulfonate.
At that time, the State of Delaware had identified 70 parts per trillion as the maximum allowable level for these contaminants, in compliance with the existing EPA standards. Lewes groundwater sources tested well below those levels, with 1.89 ppt for PFOA and 3.13 ppt for PFOS.
In March, the EPA proposed new regulations for six PFAS compounds, including PFOA and PFOS. Under the newly proposed regulations, the maximum limit for PFOA and PFOS individually is 4.0 ppt. The BPW drinking water sample collected was still under these extremely low limits.
Implementation of the new regulations will not go into effect until finalization. More information on the proposed EPA regulations can be found at: epa.gov/sdwa/and-polyfluoroalkyl-substances-pfas.
Lewes Board of Public Works is committed to providing the Lewes community with high-quality water and has been proactive in maintaining a healthy water supply. Protecting the well recharge areas continues to be a top priority for the BPW.
In 2020, the BPW, Sussex County and the City of Lewes participated in purchasing the Jones Farm, a property located adjacent to the BPW well field and within the recharge area. In addition, the BPW has several capital projects planned that include new well development, replacing iron pipe in the distribution system and other improvements. All projects will contribute to the protection of Lewes-area drinking water.
According to the EPA: Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances – known as PFAS – are widely used, long-lasting chemicals, components of which break down very slowly over time; are present at low levels in a variety of food products and in the environment; and may be linked to harmful health effects in humans and animals. Go to epa.gov/pfas/pfas-explained for more information.