PORTLAND, Ore. (KTVZ) – The Oregon Health Authority and the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality announced Tuesday that they are partnering with a project to monitor small public drinking water systems in statewide, including six in central Oregon, to detect the presence of PFAS – a group of chemicals that are becoming a nationwide health problem.
Starting this month, the two agencies will analyze water samples from around 150 public drinking water systems that each serve fewer than 10,000 people and check for evidence of PFAS contamination. The systems have been identified as potentially at risk due to their proximity to a known or suspected site of use or contamination of PFAS.
The list includes half a dozen central Oregon water supply systems including the towns of Prineville and Madras, Black Butte Ranch and Roats Water in Deschutes County and Cascade Pines Mobile Home Park and the system McDougal Water Supply in Crook County.
The purpose of the monitoring project is to ensure that customers are not exposed to potentially harmful PFAS chemicals in their water.
The OHA will share the results with water supply systems and provide technical assistance if PFAS are detected. The OHA has established a health advisory level for four PFAS compounds at 30 parts per trillion.
Larger systems – those with 10,000 or more customers – were tested between 2013 and 2015, officials said, and none were detected.
Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, collectively known as PFAS, are a group of thousands of different chemicals that have been manufactured and used in a variety of commercial products since the 1940s – from everyday household items to fire-fighting foam – due to their heat, moisture and stain resistance and non-stick qualities.
These chemicals do not break down in the environment or the human body and can build up over time. There is evidence that exposure to some PFAS can cause adverse effects on human health.
About the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality
The Oregon Department of Environmental Quality protects human health and the environment by controlling air and water pollution, reducing the impacts of manufactured products, and cleaning up contaminated properties. DEQ engages the public in decision making and helps communities solve problems in an economically and environmentally sustainable way.
About the Oregon Health Authority
The mission of the Oregon Health Authority is to ensure that all people and communities can achieve optimal physical, mental and social well-being through partnerships, prevention and access to health care. quality and affordable. The OHA comprises most of the state’s health programs, including Public health, the Oregon Health Plan and the Oregon State Hospital. Because poor health is only partially due to lack of medical care, the OHA is also working to reduce health disparities and expand the state’s focus on prevention.