The Santa Clarita Valley Water Agency released its annual report on consumer confidence this week in conjunction with L.A. County Water Works District No. 36, touting a supply to SCV faucets and taps that meets or surpasses state and federal standards.
The report updates the community on the local water agency’s efforts to reduce contaminants found locally, known as per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, or PFAS, which have been targeted by projects and other solutions to keep the local water supply in compliance with regulations.
“Over the last year, we have completed our second state-of-the-art PFAS treatment facility and started construction on a third, with more treatment projects on the way,” said SCV Water General Manager Matt Stone. “We remain committed to our customers, ensuring the community always has access to clean, safe, and reliable water. We invite our valued customers to read the report to learn more about the quality of our water.”
A previous study conducted by SCV Water estimated the total cost of treatment plants needed at $120 million to $160 million, according to Kathie Martin, spokeswoman for SCV Water.
She noted that in addition to the two plants that are operating and the third under construction, there are a half-dozen more planned.
The annual report notes the testing levels for PFAs by the various service areas for SCV Water, which show up in the testing reports as Perfluorooctanesulfonic acid, or PFOS, and Perfluorooctanoic acid, or PFOA, and Perfluorobutanesulfonic acid, or PFBS.
“Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAs) are a group of manmade chemicals, which includes PFOA, PFOS and GenX. For more than 70 years, PFAs have been manufactured and used in a variety of industries worldwide,” according to a frequently asked questions section of SCV Water’s website. “According to the Environmental Protection Agency, exposure to certain PFAS can lead to adverse health effects in humans.”
The testing sample from the region referred to on the report as the Santa Clarita Water Division service area had the highest average sampling level of a PFAs — a level well below the maximum contaminant level but above the level identified as the Public Health Goal.
The latest report indicates a decline in the maximum detected level, but the average levels have increased, according to reports from the last three years, for the SCWD area. That service area provides water to a portion of the city of Santa Clarita and unincorporated areas of Los Angeles County, including Saugus, Canyon Country and Newhall, with 83% of that water being imported water and 17% local.
The SCWD service area identified in the report, a northeastern segment of the SCV, tested for PFOS at a maximum level of 16.5 nanograms per liter and an average of 8.7 ng/L, according to the 2023 report. The maximum contaminant level allowable is 40 ng/L and the public health goal is listed as 2 ng/L.
The 2021 report for the same service area showed an average PFOS level of 8.1 ng/L on average, but a maximum level of 18 ng/L, which represents a decline.
There was a more significant decline in PFOA levels. For the same service area, those levels came down from an average reading of 26 ng/L to 8.7 ng/L as the maximum levels, and the average was reduced from 7.1 ng/L to 5 ng/L.