CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCBD) – South Carolina and local officials are addressing a new standard for toxic chemicals in drinking water that could soon take effect.

This week, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced the proposed National Primary Drinking Water Regulations for six PFAS.

PFAS are described by the agency as “a category of manufactured chemicals that have been used in industry and consumer products since the 1940s.”

“These are compounds that make surfaces nonstick, non-staining. They repel oil, water and grease. And so that makes them very hard to break down in the environment,” explained Mike Saia, the Public Information Administrator for Charleston Water System.

According to federal officials, the chemicals can have harmful effects on health. That’s why they’re proposing to limit the chemicals in drinking water to the lowest level that can be reliably measured. For PFOA and PFOS, that is 4.0 parts per trillion. The other four levels can be found here.

On Thursday, South Carolina Department of Environmental Health and Control said they are reviewing the new rule.

“DHEC is extremely supportive of EPA establishing drinking water standards to address PFAS,” Jennifer Hughes, DHEC’s Bureau of Water Chief.

When this regulation becomes finalized, public water systems will be required to reduce their PFAS levels to meet the new standards. The move is raising concerns at Charleston Water System.

“Although we look to the EPA for health guidance, we feel that our water is completely safe for our customers,” Saia told News 2. “We do everything we can to monitor it, we stay up with all of the national trends, we read the health science that’s available out there. And these new limits, they don’t seem to match, they don’t seem to jive for us.”

Saia said he believes EPA’s proposed regulation is a political overreach that will come at a high price for customers.

“It would require us to completely overhaul our Hanahan water treatment plant and that may take five or 10 years. That may cost hundreds of millions of dollars, even upwards of a billion dollars. And that would be directly reflected in our customers’ water bills,” said Saia.

EPA said it anticipates the regulation to be finalized by the end of the year. To submit a public comment or participate in public webinars, click here.