PFAS Information

Recently, water customers have become concerned about the safety of Sanford’s drinking water due to the presence of PFAS in multiple waste water facilities throughout central North Carolina. This information is meant to address those concerns.

While the science behind this emerging global issue is still being deliberated by national experts, the City of Sanford is taking early action to monitor PFAS and to work with partners to develop actions plans as more information becomes available.

How the City of Sanford’s water system works

The City of Sanford Big Buffalo Waste Water Reclamation Facility receives waste water discharged from residences, businesses, and industries to the City’s sewer system. The facility is highly regulated by the NC Department of Environmental Quality. Waste water that enters the facility is treated to meet all regulatory requirements and then it is discharged into the Deep River, which flows into the Cape Fear River.

The City of Sanford Water Filtration Facility withdraws water from the Cape Fear River downstream from the Big Buffalo Waste Water Reclamation Facility. The filtration facility treats raw water to meet standards required by the NC Public Water Supply Section of the NC Department of Environmental Quality.  The treated water is then supplied to residences, businesses, and industries.

The presence of PFAS

Perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances, or PFAS, are synthetic chemicals found in many products, including food packaging, household cleaners and nonstick cookware. PFAS are very common in areas of heavy manufacturing, such as our region. 

The Environmental Protection Agency is studying the presence of PFAS, which may lead the agency to establish regulatory guidelines for treating water. 

To assist in that effort, the NC Department of Environmental Quality has asked several waste water treatment facilities located in the upper Cape Fear River basin to sample the waste water entering their facilities.

Sampling at the Big Buffalo Waste Water Reclamation Facility revealed that PFAS are entering the facility in varying concentrations. We continue to sample waste water entering the facility. 

Additionally, we have mandated that industries in our pretreatment program must test for PFAS. Those industries must provide the City of Sanford with the results of their tests. 

Is our drinking water safe?

The presence of PFAS in the City’s waste water does not mean that the City’s drinking water is not safe. The City of Sanford Water Filtration Facility continues to meet or surpass both state and federal standards for safe drinking water.  

Samples taken at the Water Filtration Facility have not exceeded health advisory limits established by the Environmental Protection Agency for PFAS. 

The City of Sanford will continue working with the NC Department of Environmental Quality to track PFAS and provide high quality, safe drinking water.

Further questions or concerns?

For more information about the PFAS program or about Sanford’s drinking water, contact Scott Christiansen, Water Filtration Administrator, at 919-777-1800 or

  1. Scott Christiansen

    Water Filtration Administrator
    Phone: 919-777-1800

  2. Water Filtration Facility

    Physical Address
    7441 Poplar Springs Church Road
    Sanford, NC 27330