EPA working to address chemicals that are likely in our water

What's in your water?
Published: Sep. 13, 2022 at 6:34 AM CDT|Updated: Sep. 15, 2022 at 3:57 PM CDT
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BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - The federal government is taking a closer look at two chemicals that could be in your water supply and the health risks that may come with them.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is taking steps to protect communities from certain chemical substances known as PFAS. The EPA calls these “forever chemicals.”

Nelson Brooke, a riverkeeper with Black Warrior Riverkeeper says science shows these chemicals should be something we all are paying attention to.

“We don’t even yet know what all of these compounds are there are hundreds perhaps thousands of them,” says Brooke. “I certainly have not spoken with any scientist who thinks these chemicals are something we shouldn’t be concerned about. To the contrary, it’s something we all should be concerned about.”

Brooke says they may not only be in your water but also in the things you use daily.

“It’s in all of our homes,” says Brooke. “If we have any fire retardant products in the home with scotch guard. Rugs and couches from catching on fire. These chemicals are a part of this. Teflon and other nonstick chemicals and pans.”

These chemicals are also being used commercially.

“They can be concentrated in landfills,” says Brooke. “In wastewater treatment plants. Both of which have permits to discharge contaminated water back into our resources. They also found in other states that are requiring it to be tested for it, but not in Alabama.”

The EPA plans to designate two of the most widely used PFAS as hazardous substances under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA), also known as “Superfund.”

The EPA is requesting states to join them in applying for a $1 billion grant to research and address these chemicals and other contaminants through President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law.

To learn more about the EPA’s plans to combat PFAS, visit www.epa.gov/newsreleases/epa-proposes-designating-certain-pfas-chemicals-hazardous-substances-under-superfund.

To check to see if you water supply may have these chemical substances contact the Alabama Department of Environmental Management at (334) 271-7823.


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