Washington Evening Journal
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Washington, IA 52353
PFAS results bode well for English, Des Moines rivers
Southeast Iowa gets mixed results overall
DES MOINES — The Iowa Department of Natural Resources has released a summary of Perfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) testing of public water supplies from October 2021 to December 2022. The classification includes at least 12,000 distinct substances, informally known as “forever chemicals,” are hard to remove from water and food and linked to a litany of health hazards.
The report released Thursday took samples from drinking water sources supplying 46% of the state’s population. It said monitoring the chemical’s presence was a high priority.
“PFAS compounds can be transported via air or water, potentially contaminating drinking water sources,” it said. “Consumer products and food are a significant source of exposure to these chemicals for most people, and drinking water can be an additional source in communities where these chemicals have contaminated water supplies.”
Most wells and surface water sources in Southeast Iowa showed no PFAS chemicals in the DNR’s water samples, including those in Kalona, Ottumwa, Wapello and Fort Madison, according to an interactive map on the agency’s website.
Others, however — such as drinking water sources near Muscatine and Burlington — had PFAS concentrations above the EPA-set Health Advisory level. Combined, those sources bring water to almost 50,000 Iowans.
The report also flagged Keokuk’s municipal water works, where PFAS were detected, but not in high enough amounts to constitute a health advisory. The trend follows other Mississippi River communities, including Davenport, where readings of one type of PFAS — called perfluorobutanoic acid — were unusually high.
The report said Iowans could expect more water testing in future years.
“EPA has indicated that they will be setting maximum contaminant levels for PFAS within the next year,” it said. “Once that occurs, all public water supplies in Iowa will be required to sample finished water for PFAS.”