Dubuque Receives Results of Additional PFAS Testing
Dec. 6, 2022 -- FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
The City of Dubuque recently received the results of additional testing of its drinking water and additional water wells for the presence of PFAS, long-lasting, manmade chemicals known as per-and poly-fluoroalkyl substances.
This testing follows the test results the City received from the Iowa Department of Natural Resources (DNR) in early October 2022 that detected PFAS in Dubuque’s finished/treated drinking water and raw/untreated water from two of the shallow wells the City draws from. Dubuque draws water from nine different wells: four deep wells and five shallow wells. Following those results, those two shallow wells were taken off-line and the City chose to voluntarily test additional wells for PFAS.
Additional samples were collected on Oct. 13 of the City’s finished/treated water and raw/untreated water from other active wells not previously tested. Samples were sent to Eurofins Lancaster Laboratories Environmental Testing for analysis.
PFAS were NOT detected in the deep wells sampled; however, they were detected in the samples from the shallow wells and in the finished/drinking water sample at levels above the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) new reportable levels. The City’s shallow wells are located near the Mississippi River making them more susceptible to infiltration than the deep wells.
The City will maximize water usage from its deep wells and only augment with water from shallow wells as needed to meet City water demand. It is important to note that Dubuque tap water continues to meet all federal and state standards for drinking water safety and customers may continue to drink tap water.
The City has contracted with Strand Associates, a national engineering firm, to explore treatment options at Dubuque’s water treatment plant that would reduce or eliminate PFAS from shallow wells through the water treatment process. They are also examining the possibility of creating additional deep wells.
The City is also conducting research to determine whether the source or sources of PFAS compounds in Dubuque’s raw source water can be identified and will continue to monitor and determine appropriate strategies.
These latest results for reportable levels of PFAS in Dubuque’s drinking/finished water are available at www.cityofdubuque.org/PFAS.
Samples of Dubuque’s finished/treated water will continue to be tested quarterly and the results will be reported to the Iowa DNR. The City will continue to work with the Iowa DNR and EPA to provide safe drinking water and will keep residents and customers informed as more information becomes available and actions are taken.
Additional information from the City of Dubuque, including answers frequently asked questions links to additional sources, is available at www.cityofdubuque.org/PFAS. The City of Dubuque Water Department can be reached at 563-690-6210.
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There are thousands of individual types of PFAS chemicals and reportable levels, as determined by the EPA, vary depending upon the individual type.
PFAS have been used for nearly 70 years in many industrial applications and consumer products like carpeting, water-resistant clothing, upholstery, food packaging, non-stick cookware, and personal care products. Due their widespread use and their persistence in the environment, PFAS are now found in water, air, fish, wildlife, and soil around the world. The thousands of PFAS chemicals and their presence in the environment is an international issue.
As more and more communities find themselves impacted by new regulations and the increasingly ubiquitous nature of PFAS, the City of Dubuque awaits additional guidance from state and federal agencies on how to best address the issue. While new regulations require communities to report extremely small amounts of PFAS in drinking water, resources and definitive guidance to address the issue are lacking. The City will continue to monitor PFAS removal best practices from other communities as well as emerging research and guidance.