Water utilities should be prepared for potential media or customer inquiries regarding the anticipated drinking water standard for per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) stemming from an article the Associated Press published yesterday. As of today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has missed its statutory deadline for proposing this new rule. Additional media stories may follow as the White House and other federal agencies review the proposed rule. Local media may feature the AP story or similar accounts of how the regulation is intended to protect the public from harmful ‘forever chemicals’ in drinking water that may present many potential dangers to consumers at levels below detection. In June 2022, EPA established the following health advisories (HAs) pertaining to PFAS: Final Lifetime Health Advisories Hexafluoropropylene oxide dimer acid (GenX) - 10 ng/L Perfluorobutanesulfonic acid (PFBS) - 2,000 ng/L Interim Lifetime Health Advisories Perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) - 0.004 ng/L Perfluorooctanesulfonic acid (PFOS) - 0.020 ng/L The interim lifetime PFOA and PFOS HAs replace the previous 70 ng/L advisory value released in 2016. When EPA released its new health advisories AWWA issued a statement recognizing the importance of the upcoming rulemaking. Approved analytical methods for PFOA and PFOS have minimum reporting levels of 4 ng/L, which is much higher than the lifetime HA values. EPA recently released additional information about how it would communicate with the public about PFAS observations in ongoing Unregulated Contaminant Monitoring Rule (UCMR) samples. Systems should be aware of EPA’s approach as they craft their communication plans. In responding to media or consumer inquiries, AWWA recommends that utilities: Acknowledge the concern all contaminants present to safe drinking water. Emphasize to media and consumers that you are committed to protecting public health. Point out that your utility seeks out and monitors for unregulated contaminants under UCMR to stay ahead of potential health risks. Make clear that your water meets federal and state standards for safety (clearly explaining any SDWA violations). Focus on how water risks are assessed and managed, using the rigorous scientific framework of the SDWA. Invite media and consumers to learn more about your local water quality by providing them with consumer confidence reports and other web-based information or connecting them to the appropriate utility contact. If possible, contact your local health department and/or a trusted academic voice to collaborate on a response. AWWA has a suite of resources available on its PFAS resource page , including: AWWA Connections article on UCMR5 AWWA Briefing on PFAS PFAS Technical Report Set , including a “ Source Water Evaluation Guide for PFAS ” Trending in an Instant: A Risk Communication Guide for Water Utilities Questions can be directed to Greg Kail , AWWA communications director.