NH Takes National Lead on Arsenic and PFAS MCLs
MCLs are Maximum Contaminant Levels standards put in place by the United States Environmental Protection Agency. An MCL is the legal threshold for the amount of a substance that is allowed in public water systems under the Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA). The limit is usually expressed as a concentration in milligrams or micrograms per liter of water. Arsenic and PFAS MCLs are important measures for the health of your water.
Last month, Governor Sununu signed a law with a new Arsenic MCL of 5 parts per billion, (down from 10 ppb). He also signed into NH law the most restrictive MCLs for PFAS Contaminants (per and poly fluoroalkyl substances) in the US due to their serious health implications.
The NH Department of Environmental Services put forth these arsenic and PFAS MCLs recommendations to protect the health of our NH residents.
What These New Arsenic and PFAS MCLs Mean For Public Water Systems
Public water systems have to maintain compliance on their water quality at these higher arsenic and PFAS MCLs. They need to identify whether present technology brings compliance to the new MCL or if the PWS needs to employ new water treatment technology.
Responsible PWS owners plan for the capital expenditures that support maintaining compliance and permits to operate. Secondwind Water Systems Certified Water Specialists often consult in this decision process for many Public Water Systems throughout the region. Arsenic and PFAS in our water are health issues. If present, owners must treat the water, therefore this will require funding.
Additionally, the new arsenic MCL can also mean an increased operating cost. Making sure treatment systems are as efficient as possible is now even more important.
Secondwind Can Help In Next Steps for NH’s Public Water Systems
- If you do not have a recent water quality analysis, get one done. Have your arsenic test analyzed by a local NELAP accredited lab. By law, PFAS analysis has to be subcontracted by a NELAP lab and results take a few weeks to return. Plan for this accordingly. Initial sampling for PFAS must take place in Q4 2019 to establish a baseline.
- If you already have an analysis report to reference, show it to Secondwind Water Systems for an opinion on available water treatment options. Various other water quality parameters need to be considered for the most efficient and successful removal of these contaminants. Water Operators are not necessarily Water Treatment Experts. Make sure you rely on a dependable company for this effort and expense.
- Address and inform your PWS community regarding these new MCLs. If your community needs more information on the science, please contact Secondwind Water Systems. We visit PWS sites often and attend Home Owner Association meetings to hear FAQs. Information is power.