10/15/20

MEDIA CONTACTS:  James Lee or Heidi Griesmer, Ohio EPA, (614) 644-2160
                                   ODH Office of Communications, (614) 644-8562

Ohio EPA Detects PFAS in Aullwood Audubon Farm Discovery Center Public Water System

(COLUMBUS, Ohio) – The Ohio Environmental Protection Agency (Ohio EPA) announced today that the public water system serving the Aullwood Audubon Farm Discovery Center, an educational facility and event space in Dayton, has tested positive for elevated levels of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS). 

On October 14, Ohio EPA received a confirmation sample for the Center that identified two PFAS compounds, PFOA and PFOS, at combined levels of 96 parts per trillion (ppt), which is above Ohio EPA’s action level of 70 ppt. One other PFAS compound was also detected, but below the action level. 

Aullwood Audubon Farm Discovery Center is providing bottled water to all members, visitors, staff, and onsite Head Start pre-school students, and has posted signs at all sinks to use water only for non-potable uses. Ohio EPA will continue to work with the Center to provide technical guidance and assistance regarding long-term options, which may include installing a treatment system or identifying an alternative source of drinking water. Ohio EPA also completed testing of Englewood’s public water system, which is the closest water system in the area, and PFAS was not detected. 

Ohio EPA, the Ohio Department of Health, and the Dayton Montgomery County Public Health Department are collaborating to ensure that private well owners in the area also have information about PFAS, water testing, and treatment.

Although there are currently no national drinking water standards for PFAS, nor mandates for its testing, Governor Mike DeWine called for the development of a PFAS action plan in 2019 to identify the extent of PFAS chemicals in Ohio’s drinking water. The water sampling, which began in Feb. 2020, has produced results for more than 1,000 public water systems thus far. Of this total, sample results from 973 facilities revealed no detection of PFAS chemicals. There were 74 facilities with PFAS chemicals detected, with the majority of these well below Ohio’s action levels. In addition to the water system serving Aullwood Audubon Farm Discovery Center, two other public water systems tested positive for elevated levels of PFAS. One of those systems now is using bottled water; the other made system adjustments and no longer has PFAS at detectable levels. 

Full testing results for public water systems can be found at pfas.ohio.gov. The website also includes general information on the treatment and health effects of PFAS. Ohio EPA expects to complete sampling of Ohio’s 1,500 public water systems by the end of 2020.

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The Ohio Environmental Protection Agency was created in 1972 to consolidate efforts to protect and improve air quality, water quality and waste management in Ohio. Since then, air pollutants dropped by as much as 90 percent; large rivers meeting standards improved from 21 percent to 89 percent; and hundreds of polluting, open dumps were replaced with engineered landfills and an increased emphasis on waste reduction and recycling.

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