2023 brought concerns over PFAS or per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, in local water supplies to the forefront of residents’ minds. Clark County and its various cities have been working to test and address issues related to this issue. PFAS are found in everyday items that are resistant to heat, water, stains and oil, making them useful for manufacturers who sell nonstick pans, food wrappers, outdoor gear, cleaning supplies and cosmetics.
Well 13 in the City of Camas tested positive for PFAs, in April of 2022 and December of 2022 and was subsequently shut down for the safety of residents. The city said testing on May 17, 2023 did not detect any chemicals known as PFAS (per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances) in Well 13, located south of East First Avenue near Louis Bloch Park in downtown Camas. Six months after detecting elevated levels of harmful “forever chemicals” in one of its drinking water wells, the city of Camas brought that impacted well back online the week of May 29.
In March of 2023 Clark County tested well 22 and found PFOA levels at 8 parts per trillion. Well 22s levels are below the Washington State Department of Health’s action level of 10 parts per trillion for PFOA. Well 22 has been offline since September 2022 and was used during periods of high demand, accounting for less than 1 percent of the utility’s total water supply. Clark Public Utilities has regularly tested its water since 2014, corresponding with state and federal regulations. In 2021, the utility began using more advanced technology that could uncover PFAS levels down to 2 parts per trillion, a more precise measurement than they could previously detect.
Cities are addressing these concerns with the City of Vancouver approving a contract for a treatment system to eliminate PFAs from the City’s water supply:
The city of Vancouver is moving forward with plans to create a treatment system for toxic chemicals in the city’s water supply. To combat this, Vancouver intends to build a PFAS treatment system in the coming years (a $15.7 million project put into motion Monday night when the city council approved a contract for a preliminary design.)