In November 2021, the Washington State Board of Health adopted new drinking water standards for per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), toxic chemicals that have been found in local water supplies, including Issaquah, Fort Lewis, Whidbey Island, Moses Lake, and Airway Heights. Toxic-Free Future originally petitioned the agency in 2017 to adopt standards to protect drinking water from PFAS.
The rule will protect the drinking water of nearly six million people statewide by requiring testing for PFAS and establishing state action levels. Under the rule, the Department of Health will be able to require water suppliers to act when state action levels are exceeded.
PFAS are associated with cancer, hormone disruption, and harm to the immune system. Because they are so persistent and mobile, they can move easily through the soil and contaminate drinking water. Their presence in drinking water systems is due to their use in firefighting foam, by industries, and in many consumer products. The implementation of drinking water standards was essential to ensure that Washington residents have safe drinking water.
The rule sets the following state action levels for five PFAS:
|Type of PFAS||State Action Level (SAL) (parts per trillion)|