Austin/ Weather & Environment
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Published on April 02, 2024
Austin's Drinking Water Clears First Test for PFAS Chemicals, City's Environmental Vigilance Pays OffSource: City of Austin

Austin, Texas tap water has come through with flying colors in the first round of testing for PFAS, those pesky 'forever chemicals,' according to the local utility.

As mandated by the latest EPA guidelines under the UCMR5 program, the city's water provider, Austin Water, sought to uncover the levels of 29 specific PFAS chemicals lingering in their supply, six of which are in the hot seat for upcoming federal regulations. The good news, much to the relief of Austin residents, was that the water from all three of Austin Water's treatment facilities showed virtually no trace of the six PFAS compounds that the EPA has on its regulatory hit list, according to the City of Austin.

Despite the largely clean bill of health, a single PFAS component, Perfluorobutanoic Acid (PFBA), was detected in minuscule amounts – imagine just a few droplets in a sea of 20 Olympic-sized pools. Yet, because the EPA doesn't have PFBA on their regulatory radar just yet, and with no health advisory in place for the compound, it was largely a non-issue, at least for now, as per the City of Austin.

Interim City Manager Jesús Garza trumpeted the city's proactive stance and longstanding vigilance when it comes to environmental safeguards. "Austinites should be proud of the environmental protections that have been in place for decades to protect our water quality at the source," Garza told the city's official website, hailing the beneficial impact these measures have had on the Highland Lakes, Austin's primary water source.

Nevertheless, Austin Water isn't resting on its laurels. Shay Ralls Roalson, director of the utility, reassures locals that providing safe, top-notch water remains their goal. "We're pleased that this round of test results confirms that our customers are drinking the high-quality water they deserve," Roalson declared in the statement published on the city's website.

Austin-Weather & Environment