EPA Establishes New PFAS Regulations, OKC Officials Say City Meets Standards

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced last week the first-ever National Primary Drinking Water Regulation for PFAS (and polyfluorinated substances) known as forever chemicals. 

Tuesday, April 16th 2024, 10:47 pm

By: News 9, Jordan Fremstad


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The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced last week the first-ever National Primary Drinking Water Regulation for PFAS (and polyfluorinated substances) known as forever chemicals. 

Officials with Oklahoma City said residents won’t notice anything different with their drinking water. The city said it already meets this new standard. 

When people turn on the faucet there is water. It takes little effort, but water treatment is a rigorous responsibility for Oklahoma City. 

“We go above and beyond with the amount of testing that we do,” said Leigh Ann Kitsmiller, regulatory compliance manager for the city. “It’s a twenty-four-seven job to make sure the water leaving the treatment plants is safe.” 

PFAS chemicals have been used in several products. “Nonstick cookware, firefighting foam -- they use it in cosmetics,” Kitsmiller said. 

PFAS has been proven to cause numerous health problems including cancer. The Environment Protection Agency stepped in and set a new standard for levels of PFAS present in drinking water. Kitsmiller said these new regulations have been in the works for several years. “It did take a long time to get this regulation,” she said. 

One part per trillion equals one drop of water in about 20 Olympic-size swimming pools. The EPA set new requirements for certain PFAS at four parts per trillion and 10 parts per trillion for other PFAS chemicals. “It includes six different PFAS compounds,” Kitsmiller said. 

The EPA says the regulation will prevent PFAS exposure in drinking water for about 100 million people nationwide. “It will prevent thousands of deaths, reduce tens of thousands of serious illnesses,” said Michael Regan, EPA administrator, at a news conference on April 10. 

As for OKC – Kitsmiller said the city’s water tested below the new EPA PFAS limit.  “We didn’t have any detectable limits,” Kitsmiller said. “Yes, our water is safe to drink.” 

Kitsmiller said pouring a glass of water with little effort and no worry is how it should be. “You’re not gonna notice anything different,” Kitsmiller said. “Public health and environmental protection is our number one goal.” 

Kitsmiller said she expects the city to have additional testing requirements under these new limits. 

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