Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) are a large group of human-made chemicals that are resistant to heat, water, and oil. Due to their chemical structure, PFAS are stable and persistent in the environment. For this reason, they are also referred to as “Forever Chemicals.” PFAS have been used in a wide range of industrial and consumer products since the 1940s due to their useful properties.
PFAS are found in many products including non-stick cookware, food packaging, and stain- and water-repellents used on carpets, furniture, and clothing. PFAS can also be found in other household and personal care products, such as dishwater detergents, stain removers, laundry detergent, garden fertilizers, paints, polishes, waxes, shampoo, dental floss, and cosmetics.
PFAS are used in the aerospace, automotive, chemical manufacturing, electronics, metal coatings and plating, and textile industries. Firefighting foams containing PFAS have been used at airports, military bases, firefighting training facilities, and petroleum refineries to fight high-hazard flammable liquid fires. Non-industrial PFAS sources include waste disposal facilities, wastewater treatment plants, and biosolids from treated sewage, which are used as fertilizer on agricultural lands.
People can be exposed to PFAS in a variety of ways, including consuming contaminated water or food, breathing contaminated air or household dust, and using products made or treated with PFAS, or that are packaged in materials containing PFAS. Health effects associated with long term exposure to certain PFAS include developmental effects (birth weight), immunological effects (decreased vaccination response, asthma) and increased cancer risks (testicular, kidney).
Additional information on PFAS can be found on the State Water Resources Control Board’s (State Water Board) PFAS webpage by clicking here and in the links provided in the “Quick Links” section.
Given the extent to which PFAS can impact the environment, groundwater, and human health, both the State Water Board and the Santa Ana Regional Water Quality Control Board (Santa Ana Water Board) have initiated investigations to determine the magnitude, extent, and potential sources of PFAS contamination. These PFAS investigations have been conducted at municipal landfills, current and former Department of Defense (DoD) facilities, public drinking water supply wells, airports, chrome plating facilities, publicly owned treatment works (POTWs), and petroleum refineries and bulk terminals. Please click on the following link to learn more about PFAS water monitoring (Fact Sheet).
A primary objective of the Santa Ana Water Board is to provide information and data that is easily accessible to the public. This webpage provides information on PFAS data collected within the Santa Ana Region, as well as links to statewide PFAS information and updates. Please click on the “Quick Links” or “Documents and Presentations” for additional information.
Click on the PFAS Investigations Map below to find the locations of PFAS investigations within the Santa Ana Region. Additional information for each investigation is available in the links provided on the Map. Please note that the PFAS information displayed in the Map for public drinking water wells is reporting samples taken from raw, untreated groundwater. This information does not reflect PFAS concentrations found in drinking water served to customers. For more information about the quality of your drinking water and what treatment methods are used in your water system, please contact your local water provider and review the information included in their annual Consumer Confidence Report (CCR).
Santa Ana Water Board staff provide regulatory oversight for PFAS investigation sites within the DoD and Land Disposal Section, the Site Cleanup Program (SCP) Section, the Underground Storage Tank and SCP (UST/SCP) Section, and the Wastewater Section. The State Water Board’s Division of Drinking Water (DDW) provides regulatory oversight for PFAS investigations conducted at public water systems. Please view “Contacts” if you would like to contact Santa Ana Water Board staff.
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