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Water Quality

The City’s top priority is ensuring that the water we serve is safe, reliable, and meets all state and federal drinking health standards.

Like many communities throughout the nation, trace amounts of PFAS (Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances) were found in our water supply after the state lowered the Response Levels for Perfluorinated Chemicals in drinking water.

PFAS are a group of man-made chemicals which have been manufactured and used in a variety of industries worldwide for more than 70 years.

In 2020, dozens of wells in Orange County, including Garden Grove were temporarily shut down and local water suppliers relied on imported water from Northern California and the Colorado River.

In collaboration with the City, the Orange County Water District (OCWD) designed and deployed treatment systems which filters PFAS from the groundwater. West Haven Well 21 is among 35 PFAS treatment facilities being designed and constructed in Orange County over the next two years. OCWD is funding 100% of the design and construction costs and 50% of operations and maintenance costs.

Garden Grove remains steadfast in our mission to provide sustainable water supply and exceed all state and federal drinking water standards and regulations.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are PFAS?

Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) are a group of thousands of man-made chemicals, including perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA), perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS) and perfluorobutane sulfonic acid (PFBS).

Where are PFAS Found?

These chemicals are used to make carpets, clothing, fabrics for furniture, food packaging, cookware, and other materials to make them non-stick and/or resistant to water, oil, and stains. They are also used in a number of industrial processes and firefighting activities.

How did PFAS get into our water?

PFAS have been detected in the Orange County Groundwater Basin, entering primarily via the Santa Ana River (SAR) whose flows infiltrate into the basin. PFAS inputs to the SAR include treated wastewater discharges and stormwater runoff from upstream communities in San Bernardino and Riverside counties. Chemical manufacturers are the original source of PFAS chemicals. Despite playing no role in releasing PFAS into the environment, cities and water agencies must find ways to remove it from their local water supplies.

How much of our water supply is affected?

Orange County Water District (OCWD) and the water retailers it serves provide safe and dependable drinking water that continually meets all state and federal drinking water standards. The state of California has established advisory levels for three PFAS compounds. In order to meet California’s advisory Response Levels for PFAS in drinking water, several dozen wells are impacted and future wells may be taken out of service. The loss of wells will impose unbudgeted costs on retail water agencies in OCWD’s service area that depend on groundwater for 77% of their supply. Agencies will have to temporarily purchase more costly imported surface water to replace PFAS contaminated supplies. The cost of purchasing imported water may place a burden on ratepayers of up to $20 per monthly water bill.

What Garden Grove and OCWD doing to treat and remove PFAS?

OCWD is proactively and swiftly addressing PFAS in the Orange County Groundwater Basin.

In December 2019, OCWD launched the nation’s largest pilot project to test 14 different types of treatment media, including granular activated carbon, ion exchange, and novel alternative adsorbents, with the goal of identifying reliable and cost-effective solutions to remove PFAS from water. Now in its second phase, the project will test additional adsorbents just emerging into the marketplace.

OCWD’s board of directors implemented a PFAS treatment policy that enables constructing treatment facilities for 11 currently impacted water agencies and bringing these treatment systems online within two years to restore the impacted drinking water supply. OCWD is funding 100% of design and construction costs, with operation and maintenance costs shared 50/50 with the retail water agency.

OCWD and 10 of Orange County’s public water agencies filed a lawsuit against 3M Company, E.I. DuPont de Nemours, Inc., DuPont de Nemours and Company, Chemours Company, Corteva, Inc., and DECRA Roofing Systems, Inc. for the manufacture and sale of PFAS that have contaminated groundwater, drinking water, and real property in Orange County. Through their lawsuit, OCWD and the public water agencies seek to protect ratepayers and ensure that the associated costs, including but not limited to treatment and replacement water, are borne by the companies that developed and manufactured PFAS.

2022 PFAS in the Water Garden Grove