Proactive and prepared: Pittsboro’s readiness for stricter PFAS regulations

By Colby W. Sawyer

Pittsboro, NC – As a proactive and environmentally conscious community, The Town of Pittsboro strongly supports the new federal regulations to set stringent limits on per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) in drinking water. These new standards are part of a broader national effort to safeguard public health and ensure the purity of drinking water across the United States.

tap water
(photo by Andres Siimon)

The new federal PFAS limit regulations represent a critical move toward addressing a widespread and pressing issue. PFAS, often referred to as “forever chemicals” due to their persistence in the environment, have been linked to a range of adverse health effects.

Pittsboro has long been at the forefront of environmental stewardship, particularly in the realm of water quality and safety. Out of a commitment to the health and well-being of its residents and in anticipation of more rigorous standards, Pittsboro has already taken significant steps to address PFAS contamination. Through substantial investments in cutting-edge Granular Activated Carbon (GAC) filtration technology, the Town has successfully reduced PFAS levels in its drinking water to non-detectable levels, setting a benchmark for communities nationwide.

Pittsboro’s advanced filtration systems not only meet but exceed the requirements set by the new federal regulations. This achievement is part of the Town’s comprehensive approach to water management, which includes regular monitoring, rigorous testing, and community engagement initiatives to keep residents informed and involved in water safety efforts. Additionally, the town is funding a pilot study to assess a new type of filtration system that destroys PFAS, 1,4-dioxane, and other contaminants, which is more cost-effective and eliminates additional waste streams. We hope this study will prove the efficacy of this technology, thus reducing the cost burden of water treatment on small communities like ours across the nation.

“Our town’s early action on PFAS is a testament to our commitment to providing our residents with the safest and cleanest water possible,” said Jonathan Franklin, Pittsboro Town Manager. “We believe in taking proactive measures to protect our community’s health and the environment, and our investment in advanced filtration technology clearly demonstrates this belief.”

“We are proud to align with the federal government’s initiative to limit PFAS in drinking water and will continue to work diligently to maintain and improve our town’s water quality,” said Mayor Kyle Shipp. “The cost of removing industrial chemicals from our drinking water should not be the responsibility of our residents and ratepayers. I look forward to furthering discussions around water quality protections and placing the responsibility for reducing these chemicals on the dischargers through my membership on the EPA’s Local Government Advisory Committee – Small Communities Advisory Subcommittee.”

The Town of Pittsboro remains dedicated to ensuring a clean, safe, and sustainable water supply for all its residents and stands ready to support and implement further measures to protect public health and the environment.