A sampling of about 70 community water systems in Iowa found that toxic chemicals were detectable in the environment indefinitely in more than a dozen of them, according to the Iowa Department of Natural Resources.
DNR began sampling late last year and released the final results on its website this week. The test is designed to determine the prevalence of perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances (often called PFAS or “permanent chemicals”) in the state’s drinking water.
There are thousands of PFAS. The two most studied in this group were related to cancer and other diseases and were the focus of the sampling along with 23 other PFASs.
The water sources selected for the first round of testing are believed to be the most vulnerable to contamination, using federal and state data to track companies using or storing PFAS, areas using firefighting foam containing PFAS, and more, said Corey McCoid, DNR’s director of water supply operations.
None of the tests exceeded the non-mandatory federal guidelines for the two most prominent PFASs, although the EPA anticipates more stringent revisions to the health advice and is considering mandatory regulations.
“Overall, we’re happy that it’s not exceeding health recommendations at this time,” McCoid said, “but since the EPA is looking to change health recommendations, I suspect we’ll have some facilities that will be affected by then.”
Chief among these was the central city, where DNR found that the total concentration of PFAS affected by the advisory was 61 parts per trillion, close to the 70 parts per trillion guideline. The city has stopped using water from contaminated wells — except in cases of urgent need — and is conducting a DNR investigation to determine the source of the contamination.
Kammerer Mobile Home Park near Muscatine may also be affected. DNR found the concentration in its water to be 29 parts per trillion.
Other cities where both PFASs have been detected in finished drinking water include:
— Ames Water Treatment Plant: 9.6 parts per trillion
— Burlington Municipal Water Works: 7.2 parts per trillion
– Comanche water supply: 12 parts per trillion
— American Water, Iowa, Davenport: 6 parts per trillion
— Keokuk Municipal Waterworks: 4.3 parts per trillion
— Muscatine Power & Water: 7.6 parts per trillion
— Iwatani water supply: 2.1 parts per trillion
— Sioux City Water: 9.2 parts per trillion
— Tama water supply: 5.5 parts per trillion
— West Des Moines Water Works: 5.3 parts per trillion
Cedar Rapids and Iowa City treated no detectable amounts of water, but each city has one well. In large cities, contaminated water from wells can be diluted by uncontaminated water from other wells.
McCoid expects to test about 60 more water systems in the coming months. Some of these will be in areas near other detections. Cities detected in finished water are required to conduct quarterly water quality testing and report the results to DNR.
Water supplies with no major PFAS levels detected in treated drinking water include:
Greenfield Municipal Utilities
Corning Water Authority
Rathburn Regional Water Association
Buena Vista County
Su Rapids Water Authority
Green Municipal Water
HWH Corporation, Tipton
Osceola Water Works
Spencer Municipal Water Company
Lamoni Municipal Utilities
Leon water supply
Great Rivers Allied Energy, Dalesville
Central water system, Okoboji
Milford Municipal Utilities
Hampton Municipal Water Works
Panola Water Works
Eldora Water Supply
Iowa Falls Water Department
Missouri Valley Water
ida grove water company
Amana Social Water System North
Prairie City Waterworks
Iowa City Water Authority
Iowa City University Water System
Fort Madison Municipal Water Works
Cedar Rapids Water Authority
Hiawatha Water Authority
Lisbon water supply
Vapero Municipal Waterworks
Winterset Municipal Waterworks
Mahaska Rural Water, New Salon
St Ansgar water supply
Mark Twain Meadow Homeowner
Clarinda Water Works
Shenandoah Water Authority
Palo Alto County
Grettinger Municipal Water
Des Moines Water Works
Council Bluffs Waterworks
Country Manor Mobile Home Park
Montezuma Municipal Water Supply
Lake Wall Water Supply
Harlan Municipal Utilities
Rural Water System #1
Eddyville City Water Authority
Carona Water Authority
Freeport Waters, Decola
Sergeant Bluff Water Supply
Iowa Capital Dispatch is part of States Newsroom, a grant-backed network of news bureaus and a coalition of donors to 501c(3) public charities. Iowa Capital Dispatch maintains editorial independence. For questions, please contact editor Kathie Obradovich: firstname.lastname@example.org.Follow Iowa Capital Dispatch on Facebook and Twitter.
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