Translate: English Spanish Vietnamese

PFAS Health Advisories

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) on June 15, 2022 issued new, more rigorous drinking water health advisories for per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS).

What are PFAS?

PFAS are man-made chemicals that have been used in industry and consumer products worldwide since as far back as the 1940s. They have been used in non-stick cookware, water-repellent clothing, stain resistant fabrics and carpets, some cosmetics, some firefighting foams, and products that resist grease, water, and oil.

The most commonly studied PFAS are perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) and perfluorooctane sulfonic acid (PFOS). PFOA and PFOS have been phased out of production and use in the United States, but other countries may still manufacture and use them.

During production and use, PFAS can migrate into the soil, water, and air. Most PFAS (including PFOA and PFOS) do not breakdown, so they remain in the environment. Because of their widespread use and their persistence in the environment, PFAS are found in the blood of people and animals all over the world and are present at low levels in a variety of food products and in the environment. Some PFAS can build up in people and animals with repeated exposure over time.

To provide Americans, including the most sensitive populations, with a margin of protection from a lifetime of exposure to several PFAS compounds, the EPA set the following health advisory levels (HALs) on June 15, 2022.  Health advisories look at lifetime exposure (70 years) and take into account other sources of PFAS exposure, such as consumer products.

PFAS Compound EPA Health Advisory Level
PFOA .004 parts per trillion
PFOS .02 parts per trillion
GenX 10 parts per trillion
PFBS 2,000 parts per trillion


It’s important to note that current testing methods can only detect PFOA and PFOS down to 4 parts per trillion. However, interim health advisories are significantly below the level of detection. You may be wondering, what is meant by parts per trillion? A part per trillion is a measurement of the quantity of a substance in the air, water or soil. One part per trillion in water is equivalent to one drop of water in an olympic size pool, which averages 660,000 gallons or a single drop of food coloring in 18 million gallons of water.

Because there is uncertainty of the health effects associated with long-term exposure to some compounds, EPA may set lower health advisories while it is determining its regulatory approach.

In anticipation of potential regulation, CCWA has been proactively working with the Georgia Environmental Protection Division (GA EPD) to test and monitor for PFAS compounds in both our water system and wastewater system to help identify sources of PFAS in local watersheds. As we have done for nearly 70 years, we will meet any regulations set by US EPA and GA EPD.

Testing for PFAS Compounds

CCWA has been proactive in identifying PFAS compounds in our water supply and exploring ways to best treat these compounds. In 2019, research and pilot studies were conducted to evaluate various PFAS removal technologies.  The results of the study showed that membranes and granular activated carbon (GAC) performed the best at removing small levels of PFAS compounds found to be present in our water supply.  These technologies will be further evaluated in our near-term planning for PFAS removal.

CCWA continues to plan for PFAS regulations by tracking and monitoring reservoir water quality daily and blending water sources to optimize treatment.  CCWA has implemented a comprehensive sampling program to identify PFAS compounds in our water system. Sampling data, research, and pilot studies guide CCWA as we plan to comply with upcoming regulations.  EPA’s draft rule for required levels of PFAS in drinking water is expected to be released by December 2022 and CCWA is committed to meeting EPA’s timeline for removing these chemicals from our drinking water.

Results of the samples collected in 2022 by Georgia EPD at our three Water Production Plants can be viewed on Georgia EPD’s website: PFOA and PFAS Information. Once on the site, click on the Current and Future Monitoring tab to see results.


Learn More About PFAS

EPA PFAS Information

GA EPD PFAS Information