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California Orders Statewide PFAS Investigation

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The California State Water Resources Control Board has issued an Order to approximately 160 bulk fuel storage terminals and refineries in the State requiring the implementation of a PFAS site investigation.

The State Water Board issued the order to those terminals and refineries that had stored and/or used materials that may contain Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) such as Aqueous Film Forming Foam (AFFF) for fire suppression, fire training, and flammable vapor suppression.

The Order also notes that petroleum-product storage tanks may use a floating layer of cereal grains treated with PFAS on top of the liquid surface to reduce evaporation loss, and facilities storing hydrocarbon fuels may prevent evaporation through use of an aqueous layer containing PFAS.

Recipients of the Order are required to identify the areas where PFAS-containing materials were stored, used and/or disposed, and implement an investigation of soil and groundwater in those areas in addition to sampling of stormwater and wastewater treatment plant influent and effluent where applicable. California has drinking water notification levels for PFOA of 5.1 ppt and PFOS of 6.5 ppt and response levels for PFOA of 10 ppt and PFOS of 40 ppt.

This Order is part of a statewide effort to evaluate PFAS groundwater and surface water impacts and to obtain a preliminary understanding of PFAS concentrations at facilities across the state. The State Water Board has previously directed other dischargers identified as potential PFAS sources to perform PFAS testing. California is assembling a database of PFAS results from a variety of sources statewide that currently includes data from water system wells, military cleanup sites, other cleanup program sites, airports, industrial facilities, landfills, and wastewater treatment plants.

For more information, view the order here: