PHILADELPHIA – Following the United States Geological Survey (USGS) this week issuing a report that found nearly half of the nation’s tap water contains per- and polyfluorinated alkyl substances, or PFAS, the National Association of Water Companies President & CEO Robert F. Powelson issued the following statement:
“NAWC member companies work daily to provide high-quality and affordable water and wastewater services and protect communities across the nation from the dangers posed by PFAS chemicals, also known as ‘forever chemicals.’
Water companies do not create or produce PFAS chemicals – nor are they used in the water or wastewater treatment process. However, NAWC member companies have been proactively working to control these dangerous ‘forever chemicals,’ even in the absence of any state or federal requirements, as part of our commitment to ensure safe, reliable drinking water for our communities.
NAWC member companies do this by strategically investing in their systems every year to ensure water delivered to homes and businesses meets or exceeds all health standards. In fact, NAWC’s 10 largest members alone invest more than $3.9 billion annually to maintain and upgrade their systems.
NAWC’s member companies support the federal Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) establishment of a national drinking water standard for PFOA and PFOS and urge regulators to do more to hold polluters accountable for the costs associated with treating PFAS.
Establishing a national standard for addressing these harmful chemicals provides clarity to all utilities, their customers and states while placing all water and wastewater systems in the same boat to navigate these uncharted waters.
Make no mistake – addressing the PFAS in the nation’s water supply will cost billions of dollars. It’s a cost that under the current structure will disproportionately fall on water and wastewater customers in small communities and low-income families. Instead of coming from the pockets of water and wastewater customers and utilities, the polluters should be held directly responsible for the cleanup costs.
NAWC is calling on Congress and the EPA to enact laws and regulations to ensure that those who manufactured and used PFAS chemicals are responsible for funding cleanup and treatment and to protect water and wastewater customers from having to fund further cleanup efforts.”