The Commonwealth Utilities Corp. reiterated yesterday its advisory to some of its water customers to avoid drinking or cooking with tap water so as to limit exposure to two industrial chemicals called perfluorooctanesulfonic acid, or PFOS, and perfluorooctanoic acid, or PFOA.
The affected villages are Chalan Laulau, I Liyang, Chalan Kiya, As Terlaje, Kannat Tabla, Fina Sisu, San Jose (Oleai) and parts of southern Garapan, Gualo Rai. Susupe, As Lito, and As Perdido.
Since 2016, CUC has regularly detected levels of PFOS and PFOA that exceed the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency lifetime Health Advisory level of 70 parts per trillion in a limited area of its drinking water system. The EPA lifetime health advisory level is the amount below which no harm is expected from PFOS and PFOA based on a daily consumption of water over a lifetime.
A proven way to remove PFOS and PFOA is to filter the contaminated water through a granulated activated carbon system. CUC has identified funding for the purchase of GAC units that will be installed sometime beginning this fall and next year.
Until CUC has GAC systems, it has tried to reduce the amount of PFOS and PFOA in the water by removing a total of 10 wells that contain high levels of PFOS and PFOA. The last two wells were turned off on Jan. 30, 2020, and a sample was collected on Feb. 4, 202,0 from the As Terlaje Tank that serves the affected areas. The sample contained 25 parts per trillion PFOS and this is below the EPA health advisory level. A sample collected on March 23, 2020, contained 31 ppt PFOS and the most recent sample collected on June 11, 2020, contained 29 ppt PFOS. “We expect the amount of PFOS and PFOA to vary over time because these contaminants move throughout the underground water field,” CUC said in its advisory, adding that CUC is making this advisory action to help the affected population limit their lifetime exposure to these chemicals.
Although the February, March, and June samples were below the EPA health advisory level, CUC continues to advise consumers in the affected areas to avoid ingesting the water until CUC has installed the GAC filtration systems that will reliably reduce the amounts of PFOS and PFOA below the EPA health advisory level.
Consumers within the affected areas (shaded in dark tan/gray) should not drink tap water, cook with tap water, or make ice for consumption with tap water. CUC water can be used for bathing or washing dishes or clothes as PFOS and PFOA do not move easily through the skin.
Call CUC’s 24-hour Call Center at (670) 664-4282 if you have questions about PFOS and PFOA in CUC’s water in your area.
For more information about PFOS and PFOA, visit EPA’s webpage at https://www.epa.gov/ groundwater-and-drinking-water/drinking-water-health-advisories-pfoa-and-pfos or BECQ Safe Drinking Water Program at (6 70) 664-8500. (PR)