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Safer, Cleaner Water to Come at a Cost for Many Americans

© AP Photo / Rogelio V. SolisA cup of water is drawn from a faucet at Johnny T's Bistro and Blues, a midtown Jackson, Miss., restaurant and entertainment venue, Thursday, Sept. 1, 2022
A cup of water is drawn from a faucet at Johnny T's Bistro and Blues, a midtown Jackson, Miss., restaurant and entertainment venue, Thursday, Sept. 1, 2022 - Sputnik International, 1920, 29.05.2024
The director of a water system in South Florida notes that while the new regulations will have a positive affect on the health of the public, the cost of manufacturers’ PFAS use will have to come out of the wallets of the public instead of that of the companies.
According to a recent report, Americans could be spending more of their hard earned cash just to get access to clean water. In early April, the [US President Joe] Biden administration announced a national drinking water standard that imposes limits on forever chemicals in public water systems.
Water systems are now warning residents from South Florida through upstate New York that they may see massive rate hikes for technology that will be used to filter out “forever chemicals” including PFAS from their water sources.
The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimates that between 6% and 10% of the country’s water systems will reduce about 100 million Americans’ exposure to PFAS. They are requiring water systems which contain high levels of six types of PFAS to remove them from their water.
PFAS are short for per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, according to the EPA. They are used widely and break down over a long period of time, the EPA explains. These chemicals are ubiquitous and can be found in water, air, fish, soil as well as in the blood of people and animals. They are sometimes used to make nonstick cooking products as well as waterproof items.
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The EPA adds that exposure to PFAS have been linked to harmful health effects in humans and animals, citing scientific studies. In April, the EPA said that imposing limits on forever chemicals will protect the public from these dangerous chemicals which have been linked to various cancers and other diseases.
“It’s going to be expensive, and it’s going to impact our ratepayers, and we’re going to be doing everything we possibly can to get some federal support in terms of the funding, but we’re going to have to move forward,” said Chris Harder, the Fort Worth Water Director in Fort Worth, Texas.
Alan Garcia, the director of a water and wastewater service in South Florida, said the average monthly bill in that county is $26, but warned that the amount could “potentially triple” when the county turns to filtering out PFAS. Garcia points out that while the benefit of the new regulations will have a positive effect on peoples’ lives, it is as though the public is “paying the price” of private companies’ PFAS use.
These new regulations give utilities a few years to test their water to determine if their levels of chemicals are above federal thresholds before installing new filtration systems. That means that the number of areas affected by the mandate could increase.
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