In 2022, Inland Empire Waterkeeper took part in a per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS/PFOS) water sampling project in Riverside and San Bernardino Counties. This work was part of a larger study being done by the Waterkeeper Alliance to monitor and educate the community on the concentrations of PFAS in our waterways and how even small amounts of this synthetic chemical can pose a threat to the safety and quality of our drinking water. You can see the report for that study here.

PFAS/PFOS are chemicals that are used on our clothing, our cooking appliances/silverware, everyday household fabrics, and many more industrial and consumer products to make them non-stick, water resistant, and increase their lifespan. These chemicals are persistent and do not naturally disintegrate. PFAS can last several years in our bodies, and new research has shown that they are detrimental, having negative impacts on health even in extremely small concentrations.

Based on these findings, the EPA has recently updated its health advisory for PFAS and has proposed a PFAS primary drinking water regulation. For this reason, with the Waterkeeper Alliance, IE Waterkeeper is taking the initiative to survey and test the waterways that are our sources of drinking and household water.

The waterways that were surveyed by our team were the Santa Ana River and Temescal Creek in Riverside and San Bernardino Counties. Samples were collected at the downstream locations of the Santa Ana River and Temescal Creek in the city of Corona and upstream locations near Lake Elsinore City and South Fork Family Campground.

Check out this video to see how we collected these water samples.

The results of this study are in; PFOA in the Santa Ana River was undetected at the headwaters site and remained at a relatively low 8.9 ppt at the downstream site. Temescal Creek was higher, with PFOA at 8.6 ppt just below Lake Elsinore and 26.3 ppt at the downstream site. The much higher PFOA levels in Temescal Creek remain unexplained.

Learn more about all of our programs protecting swimmable, drinkable, fishable water here!