Nearly two weeks after publicly denying the possibility that C8 could be getting into the drinking water of Cincinnati consumers, officials with Greater Cincinnati Water Works admit that they have observed trace amounts in their post-filtration sampling.
Cincinnati Water Works has been testing water in the Ohio River and their system since 2005. The latest set of sampling results, taken on April 7, 2009, indicate C8 in the Ohio River measured at a concentration of 11 parts per trillion. At the same time, post-filtration water tested at 10 parts per trillion - a marked increase from prior testing which indicated that C8 concentrations were below the limit of detection.
The following statement was provided by Jeff Swertfeger, GCWW Assistant Manager of Water Quality and Treatment Division, on April 1:
"Greater Cincinnati Water Works (GCWW) is proud of our state-of-the art water treatment that provides high quality drinking water to our customers. Since 1992, Granular Activated Carbon (GAC) treatment has given us an edge when it comes to treating source water from the Ohio River. The USEPA considers GAC the best treatment technology to remove many contaminants found in the river, including C-8 (PFOA).
GCWW is one of several water utilities in the Greater Cincinnati region that uses the Ohio River as a source. GCWW has been proactive in monitoring for PFOA in the river. Since 2005 the PFOA values in the Ohio River at our location have declined from 100 parts per trillion (ppt) to 11 ppt (detection limit – 10 ppt). The USEPA has set the health advisory for this contaminant at 400 ppt. in drinking water.
We also test the water as it goes through the treatment process. All sample concentrations in the water that had passed through GAC entering into our final treatment processes have been below detection except for one value in 2009. This concentration was at the detection limit of 10 ppt. Our water quality experts believe this is an anomaly since the detection and the river water detection were both at the level of detection of this compound which could yield unreliable results.
Because of the testing that we have do and the lack of detections, we feel very confident that our operational strategy is successful in removing PFOA in our water.
GCWW has always met or exceeded all of the state and federal health standards for drinking water. We will continue to perform an average of 600 tests per day throughout the system to ensure safe drinking water for all of our customers."