ECUA Executive Director Responds to EWG Report 2013-2016

ECUA Executive Director Responds to EWG Report 2013-2016 

The Environmental Working Group (EWG) is the group that issued an invalid assessment of ECUA’s water quality in 2009.  The EWG’s aim usually is to prod the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) into action to establish regulations on various issues such as water quality, cosmetics, sunscreen, etc.  Their methodology typically includes publishing reports based on murky scientific analyses and misinterpretation of data to support their position, which is designed to scare the public into putting pressure on Congress and the EPA to adopt these regulations.

A recent EWG report focuses on the broad group of PFC compounds, which includes PFOA (Perfluorooctanoic acid) and PFOS (Perfluorooctane sulfonate).  These chemical compounds are typically used in fire suppression materials and are included in the EPA-required public water system testing established through the Unregulated Contaminant Monitoring Rule (UCMR).  EPA utilizes data gathered through the UCMR sampling to determine if they need to establish formal regulations in the interest of public health.  In typical EWG style, this report again presents sampling data without context or comparative information.

The UCMR required testing in 2014 for, among other chemical compounds, PFOA and PFOS, both of which have no federal drinking water quality limits.  During that sampling process in 2014, we confirmed the presence of very low levels of these two compounds at three of our wells.  We have taken two of those wells out of service and have installed filtration for removal of the PFC compounds at the other well.  Subsequent to the 2014 UCMR sampling, we detected PFCs at the Airport North well, which has been out of service since 2012.  In preparation for bringing the Airport North well back online, in mid-2017, we have installed GAC (Granular Activated Carbon) filters that will remove PFCs.  Based on the most recent sampling analyses, all of the water that ECUA provides to our customers is safe and meets all regulatory water quality standards established under the Safe Drinking Water Act.  Our testing also confirms that none of ECUA’s wells presently in service exceed the current Health Advisory levels for PFOA and PFOS.


Stephen E. Sorrell, PE
ECUA Executive Director