Protecting Public Health is Our Top Priority
Orange County Utilities is dedicated to delivering safe and reliable drinking water that meets or exceeds state and federal drinking water regulations.
In 2022, Orange County Utilities’ nationally certified lab performed more than 300,000 analyses while monitoring for more than 150 substances in the drinking water supply, far above the required testing.
Since PFAS, also referred to as forever chemicals, continue to make headlines and are a concern for all communities, we want to help residents understand what it means to them and how they are being addressed by Orange County Utilities.
PFAS, or Per- and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances are a group of man-made chemicals used in a wide range of products due to their water and grease resistance properties. PFAS can be found in products like non-stick cookware, water-resistant clothing, food packaging, and more. They can also enter the air, water, and soil through commercial production processes.
PFAS are persistent because they last a long time and survive transferring from source to source. You can find out more information about PFAS from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the American Water Works Association (AWWA).
Drinking water is regulated at both the federal and state levels. On the federal side, the EPA administers the Safe Drinking Water Act that sets national standards for drinking water quality. States are given the authority to enforce federal standards, and may have their own additional regulations that can be more stringent. In Florida, the agency responsible for enforcing drinking water standards is the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP). This agency works closely with public water systems, providing guidance, conducting inspections, and monitoring compliance to ensure that drinking water is safe for the public.
To ensure safe drinking water standards, every five years the EPA issues a list of unregulated contaminants of concern to be monitored by public water systems. The current Unregulated Contaminant Monitoring Rule (UCMR 5) requires testing for 29 different PFAS contaminants and lithium. Additionally, the EPA recently drafted a new rule that will regulate six PFAS compounds, with the rule anticipated to go into effect in 2024.
Legal Measures to Hold PFAS Producers Accountable
Orange County is participating in a lawsuit against PFAS manufacturers, distributors, and sellers who might have impacted our source water. The purpose of this litigation is to protect residents from the potential costs of removing PFAS from the drinking water. We believe it is important to hold polluters and not the residents of Orange County accountable for any damages.
Ensuring Safe and Reliable Water through UCMR
Orange County Utilities is participating in the EPA’s Fifth Unregulated Contaminant Monitoring Rule (UCMR 5) and will test the drinking water for 29 PFAS compounds at its water supply facilities in 2023 and 2024. This study will use the EPA’s approved analytical methods that can detect PFAS in drinking water. As part of our commitment to improve water quality, we are also evaluating various treatment options and are committed to complying with any forthcoming PFAS regulations.
Transparent Water Quality Reports for the Community
Our regional water facilities are tested at different periods in accordance with the EPA-mandated testing cycle. We are dedicated to transparency, and our test results will be published on this page as they become available. See the EPA’s UCMR Occurrence Data webpage for detailed quarterly test results.