Iowa DNR Releases PFAS Testing Results

(Radio Iowa) The state has released the results of its public water testing for the chemicals known as PFAS. The D-N-R’s Corey McCoid says this testing covers 116 water supplies in 99 communities.

“Fifty-nine-percent, or almost 60 percent of the water supplies had no detect of PFAS that we identified. And then we had 12 that had detections above and health advisory and then we had 29 percent that were in between the health advisory and no detects,” McCoid says. Samples from the Mississippi River at Burlington, Davenport, and Keokuk had high levels. There were also high levels in Sioux City, Ames, and Central City, which are believed to be related chemicals in fire-training or fire-fighting activities. They are know as “forever” chemicals because they stay around for long time. This testing was done before the EPA’s recent announcement of its proposed drinking water standards, but McCoid says these tests fit in the guidelines.

“We were looking at the minimum reporting level, which coincides with the same number that E-P-A just released as their maximum contaminant level, or M-C-L for PFAS. So our practice that we’ve been utilizing is in line with what E-P-A just published as a proposed rule,” he says. McCoid says the communities are required to let water users know about the problem. He says water treatment plants are waiting for the final E-P-A rule approval so they know how to adjust their treatment practices.

“But at this point, what a lot of water supplies have done is taking Well, the wells that were higher and P FAS concentration to take those wells offline,” McCoid says. “So if they had a number of different wells, they had one high well, and one low, they’ve switched and they’re not using the well that had high concentration. So that’s what we’ve seen across a lot of the state right now.” He says options are available for individuals who have a concern about their water.

“There are a number of different treatment options out there for a homeowner, you know, reverse osmosis, those things that are underneath your sink, work well. And, you know, any type of carbon filter, even some of your pitcher filters can reduce the amount of PFAS concentration. And so, start looking for those things on the labels,” he says. The chemicals are used in water-resistant, stain-resistant, and heat-resistant products such as carpets, clothing, fire-fighting foams and food packaging. Ingesting the chemicals may increase cancer risk. The complete summary and results of the PFAS testing can be found at