PFAS - Bureau of Water

The Final Report of the Ambient Surface Water PFAS Project is now available.

All surface water and tissue data from July 2022 - October 2023 are available here.

Recommendations for Reducing Potential Exposure to PFAS from Eating Fish - October 2023

As part of DHEC's strategy of determining the fate and transport of PFAS chemicals in South Carolina, samples of several aquatic species, including freshwater fish, oysters and blue crabs, were collected.  This sampling was only a snap shot in time and this data, along with the ambient water data, public drinking water well data and private drinking water well initiatives, will help to inform our next steps. 

Due to the small sampling size with this first collection of aquatic species, DHEC currently does not have enough data to issue science-based fish meal consumption advisories for PFAS. In the interim, while we are collecting additional data, we recommend the following advice to those who want to reduce potential exposure to these chemicals from eating fish:

  • Reduce the consumption of certain species including, but not limited to, largemouth bass, bluegill sunfish, redear sunfish, and black crappie; and
  • Eat only the fillets of fish (discarding the organs).   

These recommendations are most important for sensitive populations, such as subsistence fishermen, children under 14 and women who are nursing, pregnant, or plan to become pregnant. We would also like to remind at risk populations, such as children under 14 and women who are nursing, pregnant, or plan to become pregnant, not to consume fish from waterbodies with existing fish consumption advisories.

What BOW is doing to address PFAS in waters of the State

DHEC has developed and is implementing three strategies for assessing PFAS in the state's waters. Contact information for each strategy is provided below. Please visit the associated pages for additional information.

Community Drinking Water Strategy 

Richard Welch, PE

Ambient Surface Water Strategy 

Matthew Baumann, PhD

Private (Individual) Drinking Water Well Strategy

Dustin Leypoldt

UCMR5 – Drinking Water

Consistent with EPA’s PFAS Strategic Roadmap, UCMR 5 will provide new data that EPA has determined are critically needed to improve their understanding of the frequency and level at which 29 PFAS (and lithium) are found in the nation’s drinking water systems. Once per calendar quarter for four consecutive quarters, BOW will sample and analyze all public water systems that serve more than 10,000 persons and some small systems that will be selected by EPA for the designated 29 PFAS analytes (and lithium). UCMR5 is scheduled by EPA for national implementation in 2023-25.

What EPA is Doing About Drinking Water

EPA is addressing PFAS nationally from different perspectives (e.g., drinking water, ambient surface water, wastewater, solid waste management, remedial cleanup/corrective action, and product manufacturing information) as discussed here and in the links presented below. 

  • In February 2019, EPA published their PFAS Action Plan; it was updated in February 2020.
  • On April 27, 2021, EPA established the EPA Council on PFAS (ECP). This Council is charged with building on the agency's ongoing work to better understand and ultimately reduce the potential risks caused by these chemicals.
  • On October 18, 2021, EPA announced the Agency's comprehensive Strategic Roadmap to confront PFAS contamination nationwide (pdf version here). 
  • On June 15, 2022, EPA:
    • Issued interim updated drinking water health advisories for PFOA and PFOS.
    • Issued final health advisories for GenX and PFBS.
    • Details of EPA’s process and decisions regarding these updated and new HAs can be found here
  • On April 10, 2024, EPA: 
    • Set limits for five individual PFAS: PFOA, PFOS, PFNA, PFHxS, and HFPO-DA (known as GenX Chemicals). 
    • Set a Hazard Index level for two or more of four PFAS as a mixture: PFNA, PFHxS, HFPO-DA, and PFBS. 
    • Details of EPA’s PFAS National Primary Drinking Water Regulation can be found here.

Additional Resources