New Treatment Plant in Montebello to Remove PFOS and PFOA, Expand Water Resources, Ensure Safety

NewsCal Water is beginning construction of a treatment facility that will ensure Montebello customers and firefighters continue to have a reliable water supply that is safe for their everyday and emergency needs. The new treatment facility will also eliminate perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS) and perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) at a well that was turned offline in February 2020 due to the constituents reaching the water supply.

The well is a critical supply source and can provide 3.6 million gallons of water per day to area customers. The project is scheduled to begin in early 2021 and will take approximately four months to complete. The new plant will enable Cal Water’s East Los Angeles District to return the well to service to support water use demand, ensure the water is safe and meets all regulations, and provide a local source of water at a lower cost than currently purchased surface water from its wholesale water supplier.

“Protecting our customers’ health and safety is our highest priority. We have a rigorous water quality assurance program that ensures the water we deliver to customers complies with all standards set by public health experts,” said District Manager James Crawford. “In this case, with the absence of a Maximum Contaminant Level (MCL), we proactively tested all of our water supply sources in service for PFOS and PFOA because we wanted to take action if it was needed to safeguard customers. Once the new treatment plant is completed, we will be able to return this critical water source to service to ensure we meet the needs of our customers and firefighters.”

PFOS and PFOA are manmade compounds that have been historically used to make carpets, fabrics, food paper packaging, and other materials resistant to water, grease, or stains. They are also used for firefighting at airfields and a number of industrial processes. Cal Water has filed a lawsuit to hold the manufacturers of the compounds responsible and prevent its customers from having to bear the costs of treatment. While there is no state or federal MCL yet for PFOS or PFOA, Cal Water has proactively tested all of its water sources across the company.