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PFAS Regulation Update: Tampa Bay Water Addresses EPA’s New Standards

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CLEARWATER – The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), which regulates public drinking water, issued its final regulations for six per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS). PFAS are man-made compounds that have been widely used in the manufacturing of clothing, sealants and stains, furniture fabrics, Teflon™-coated products, food packaging, and other materials since the 1940s. Tampa Bay Water has followed EPA’s progress in developing limits for PFAS and has been working to address these expected regulations.

Since July 2023, Tampa Bay Water has been testing the regional drinking water supply for the six regulated PFAS, alongside its member utilities, during EPA’s nationwide study. The regional utility has completed three of four quarters of testing. Results from the first three quarters of testing show that one of Tampa Bay Water’s regional delivery locations is slightly above the new limit for one PFAS: PFOS. Results are posted on the utility’s website at

“It’s not uncommon to find low levels of PFAS in drinking water because they are slow to break down when they enter our environment,” said Steve Fleischacker, water quality services senior manager for Tampa Bay Water. “As consumers use and discard products that contain PFAS, they can enter our environment, including drinking water sources.”

In 2023, Tampa Bay Water completed a study on the effectiveness of treatment technologies that address total organic carbon. These treatment technologies are recommended by EPA to address PFAS and other constituents of emerging concern. The study provides a framework for using technologies recognized by EPA as the most effective for treating PFAS.

EPA’s new regulations are based on annual averages and Tampa Bay Water is scheduled to complete the year of testing needed to determine annual averages this summer. Annual average data combined with EPA’s final regulations allow Tampa Bay Water staff to make treatment recommendations to its board of directors later this year.

“The picture is now clearer with EPA’s final regulations,” said Fleischacker. “When you’re dealing with the public water supply and the quality of the water we deliver, it’s not guesswork. We make decisions and recommendations based on science and data.”