PFAS and Drinking Water FAQs

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Recent news reports on the toxic contaminants known as PFAS has raised concerns about the presence of these chemicals in drinking water. 

What are PFAS?
PFAS/PFOA are man-made chemicals that were widely used in manufacturing, fire suppression and on military bases since the 1940s. Although manufacturing the chemicals is now banned in the United States, decades of use have left residual contamination in many water supplies throughout the nation. The most common PFAS are Pefluorooctanoic Acid (PFOA) and Perfluoroctane Sulfonate (PFOS), which have been linked to cancer and other health problems. They are known as “forever chemicals” because of their slow breakdown and resistance to heat, water and oil. 

Have PFAS affected the Newport Beach water supply?
No. The water wells that supply the City of Newport Beach do not have any of the toxic contaminants known as PFAS/PFOA. The Orange County Water District (OCWD), Newport Beach’s groundwater basin manager, conducted testing and has found no PFAS/PFOA chemicals in the wells that supply Newport Beach. 

What about the rest of Orange County?
Recent news articles have reported on PFAS groundwater contamination across the country especially near military bases or heavy industrial uses. Testing has found PFAS in some water wells in North and Central Orange County and they have been shut down according to the latest state standards. Generally, where PFAS has been detected in Orange County, they have has been at very low levels.  

What steps are being taken to protect the public?
Some wells Orange County have been shut down and additional wells may be shut down. The cities and agencies that rely on those wells must then use more imported water from the Metropolitan Water District. OCWD is working to develop potential treatment methods for the removal of PFAS. In Newport Beach, the OCWD and City will continue to test and monitor the water supply for the presence of PFAS.   

Where can I go for more information?

City of Newport Beach Utilities Department: 949-644-3011


OCWD Video on PFAs

 U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

State Water Resources Control Board:

U.S. Food and Drug Administration}