Sampling of about 70 community water supplies in Iowa found detectable levels of toxic chemicals that linger in the environment indefinitely in about a dozen of them, according to the Iowa Department of Natural Resources.
The DNR began its sampling late last year and released the latest of its results this week on its website. The tests aim to determine the prevalence of perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances — commonly referred to as PFAS or “eternal chemicals” — in the state’s drinking water.
There are thousands of PFAS. The two most studied of the group have been linked to cancers and other conditions and have been sampled, along with 23 other PFAS.
The water sources selected for the first round of testing were considered to be most at risk of contamination, using federal and state data that tracks which companies used or stored PFAS, areas where fire-fighting foam containing PFAS has been used, and others. said Corey McCoid, DNR water supply operations supervisor.
None of the detections passed a non-mandatory federal guideline for the two most important PFASs, though the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is expected to revise that health advisory to be stricter and consider mandatory regulations.
“Overall, we’re happy that it’s not currently above the health advisory,” McCoid said, “but as the EPA is looking to amend this health advisory, I suspect we’ll have at that time some facilities that will be affected.”
Chief among these is Central City, where the DNR found PFASs subject to the advisory in combined concentrations of 61 parts per trillion, which is close to the guideline of 70 parts per trillion. The city has stopped using water of a contaminated well — except in an emergency — and an MNR investigation is underway to determine the source of the contamination.
The Kammerer mobile home park near Muscatine could also be affected. The DNR found concentrations of 29 parts per trillion in its the water.
Other cities with detections of both PFAS in finished drinking water include:
— Ames water treatment plant: 9.6 parts per trillion
— Burlington Municipal Aqueduct: 7.2 parts per trillion
— Camanche water supply: 12 parts per trillion
— Iowa-American Water Company, Davenport: 6 parts per trillion
— Keokuk Municipal Aqueduct: 4.3 parts per trillion
— Muscatine Power & Water: 7.6 parts per trillion
– Rock Valley water supply: 2.1 parts per trillion
— Sioux City water supply: 9.2 parts per trillion
— Tama water supply: 5.5 parts per trillion
— West Des Moines Aqueduct: 5.3 parts per trillion
Treated water from Cedar Rapids and Iowa City had no detectable amounts, but each city had a well that did. Contaminated water from a well can be diluted in large cities with uncontaminated water from other wells.
McCoid plans to test about 60 more water supplies in the coming months. Some of them will be in areas close to other detections. Cities with the detections in their treated water are required to test the water quarterly and report the results to the DNR.
Water supplies with no detectable amounts of major PFAS in their treated drinking water included:
Greenfield Municipal Utilities
Corning Municipal Water Department
Rathbun Regional Water Association
Black Hawk County
Buena Vista County
Sioux Rapids Water Department
Greene Municipal Water Supply
HWH Corporation, Tipton
Osceola Water Plant
Spencer Municipal Water Department
Lamoni Municipal Services
Leon water supply
Big River United Energy, Dyersville
Manchester water supply
Central Water System, Okoboji
Milford Municipal Utilities
Spirit Lake Aqueduct
Hampton Municipal Aqueduct
Panora Water Plant
Eldora Water Supply
Iowa Falls Water Department
Missouri Valley Water Supply
Ida Grove Water Service
Amana Nord Company Water System
Colfax Water Supply
Hydraulic works of the city of Prairies
City of Iowa Water Department
University Water System, Iowa City
Fort Madison Municipal Aqueduct
Cedar Rapids Water Department
Hiawatha Water Department
Lisbon water supply
Wapello Municipal Aqueduct
Winterset Municipal Aqueducts
Mahaska Rural Water, New Sharon
Saint Ansgar water supply
Owners of Mark Twain Meadows
Clarinda Water Plant
Shenandoah Water Department
Palo Alto County
Municipal water supply Graettinger
Des Moines Water Plant
Council Bluffs Water Works
Country Estates Mobile Home Park
Montezuma Municipal Water Supply
Wall Lake Water Supply
Harlan Municipal Utilities
Hawarden water supply
Rural water supply system #1
Creston Water Supply
Eddyville Municipal Water Department
Ottumwa Water Plant
Carlisle water supply
Kalona Water Department
Freeport Water District, Decorah
Sergeant Bluff Water Supply
Iowa Capital Dispatch is part of States Newsroom, a network of news outlets supported by grants and a coalition of donors as a 501c(3) public charity. Iowa Capital Dispatch maintains editorial independence. Contact Managing Editor Kathie Obradovich with questions: [email protected] Follow Iowa Capital Dispatch on Facebook and Twitter.
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