PFAS Information


 2nd Test Results Received

The City received a 2nd set of test results on March 25th, 2022. This test included samples taken on March 9th, 2022 from both wells and finished blended water from taps at both well houses. The samples from well house 4, both finished and raw showed total PFOA and PFOS less than 2.0ppt, which the lab lists as “No Detections” on the summary page. The raw sample from well 2 confirmed the previous test results of 60ppt total PFOA and PFOS however the finished blended water at the tap in well house 2 showed 15ppt. In light of these test results, the city will be using well 4 as our primary well and will only use well 2 in emergencies.

You may view the full test results here.

 What is PFAS and why am I hearing about it?

The Iowa Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) has recently begun performing a statewide sampling initiative looking to determine the prevalence of a class of chemicals known as per-and polyfluoroalkyl substances, commonly referred to by the acronym “PFAS.” This is a huge class of manmade compounds that includes more than 5,000 individual chemicals. PFAS compounds have been used extensively for more than 70 years in applications such as: non-stick coatings; stain-resistant carpeting; water-repelling clothing and fabrics; paper packaging for food; and metal plating operations. The most abundant use, and the most common source of drinking water contamination, comes from PFAS uses in aqueous fire fighting foams (AFFF’s). There is emerging scientific data indicating that in high enough concentrations, PFAS can pose a health risk, especially to developing fetuses and breastfed infants.

 PFAS Detected in Central City

The Iowa Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) pulled samples from one of the two Central City public wells on February 7, 2022. The city received the results in March. This first test showed a Total PFOA and PFOS of 62 parts per trillion, a level below the EPA’s Lifetime Health Advisory limit of 70 parts per trillion (or .00007 parts per million). The IDNR dictates the action the City must take when PFAS is detected and informed the City that no public health notice is required.

 What is the City doing about it?

The City is required to begin monitoring PFAS levels with testing beginning in the second quarter of 2022, or sometime between April 1st and June 30th of 2022. As this is a new testing protocol of the IDNR, and as more information is made available, we will update the public.

 What can I do about it?

There are some home filters that customers could use. A study performed by the New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services found two classes of home filters that can be effective at removing PFAS compounds. Granular Activated Carbon (GAC) filters can be effective, as long as the customer regularly replaced the carbon filters at the interval recommended by the filter manufacturer. Reverse Osmosis (RO) systems can also be quite effective. But RO systems tend to waste two to four gallons for every gallon treated, so their use should be limited to points where water is used for drinking. The National Sanitation Foundation (NSF) maintains a listing of products that claim to remove PFOA and PFOS compounds on their website:

 PFAS Can Be Found in Many Places

  • Food – for example in fish caught from water contaminated by PFAS and dairy products from livestock exposed to PFAS.
  • Food packaging – for example in grease-resistant paper, fast food containers/wrappers, microwave popcorn bags, pizza boxes, and candy wrappers. Household products and dust – for example in stain and water-repellent used on carpets, upholstery, clothing, and other fabrics; cleaning products; non-stick cookware; paints, varnishes, and sealants. Personal care products – for example in certain shampoo, dental floss, and cosmetics.
  • Soil and water at or near waste sites - at landfills, disposal sites, and hazardous waste sites such as those that fall under the federal Superfund and Resource Conservation and Recovery Act programs.
  • Fire extinguishing foam - in aqueous film-forming foams (or AFFFs) used to extinguish flammable liquid-based fires. Such foams are used in training and emergency response events at airports, shipyards, military bases, firefighting training facilities, chemical plants, and refineries.
  • Manufacturing or chemical production facilities that produce or use PFAS – for example at chrome plating, electronics, and certain textile and paper manufacturers.
  • Biosolids – for example fertilizer from wastewater treatment plants that is used on agricultural lands can affect ground and surface water and animals that graze on the land.
  • Drinking water – in public drinking water systems and private drinking water wells.