PFAS and Wastewater

Looking for information on PFAS and drinking water?                                                                                      EBMUD Drinking Water and PFAS information                                                                                                                  Learn more about how your EBMUD drinking water is treated

What are PFAS?

Per- and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances (PFAS) are human-made compounds that are typically manufactured for their non-stick, heat-resistant, water and oil resistant properties. PFAS are used in many common household products, such as cookware, carpets, clothes, furniture fabrics, food packaging, and fire-fighting foams. They degrade extremely slowly and remain persistent and widespread in the environment.

There are thousands of different PFAS. Perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) and perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS) are two PFAS that have been well studied. Certain PFAS are no longer manufactured in the US. However, they may still be produced internationally and are imported into the US in consumer goods.

To learn more about PFAS and associated health risks, as well as information about PFAS and drinking water, see this EPA fact sheet.

PFAS and Wastewater

Wastewater entering EBMUD's Main Wastewater Treatment Plant contains low levels of perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) primarily from households but also industrial sources. EBMUD does not produce or introduce PFAS in any way. We are working with our partners to monitor and develop solutions to address this contaminant at its source.

EBMUD participated in a regional study that began in 2020 to better understand the prevalence of PFAS in wastewater and to identify its sources. The study was conducted by the San Francisco Estuary Institute in collaboration with the Regional and State Water Resources Control Boards and Bay Area Clean Water Agencies. The study details and results are available here: PFAS Study Summary

EBMUD is also working with our partners to support public policy to reduce the use of PFAS in consumer products, where other alternatives exist.

What can you do as a customer?

Seek out alternatives to products that contain PFAS.

Avoid buying products with compounds that contain “fluoro” or are advertised as stain resistant or water resistant, where possible. (Products that contain fluoride, such as toothpaste, are okay.) Be aware that a product designated as “PFOA-free” or “PFOS-free” may still contain other perfluoroalkyl substances with similar properties and concerns.

Support public policy to address PFAS at its source.

California has banned PFAS in food packaging, cosmetics, and textiles. A comprehensive ban could be the most effective way to protect our community from the health impacts of PFAS and keep PFAS from entering the environment.


Learn more about this issue:

Links for PFAS-free products :

EPA PFAS webpage

Water Boards' PFAS webpage

CASA PFAS fact sheet

Learn more about how your EBMUD water is treated