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PFAS in MWRA Drinking Water

Massachusetts Water Resources Authority

You might have seen recent news reports about per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (together abbreviated as PFASs). These are a class of human-made chemicals typically associated with manufacturing of non-stick coatings, water proofing and stain proofing treatments. They have also been associated with certain fire-fighting foams.

The Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection is considering setting a standard of 20 parts per trillion for the sum of these 6 compounds:

  • Perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA)
  • Perfluorooctanesulfonic acid (PFOS)
  • Perfluorononanoic acid (PFNA)
  • Perfluorohexanesulfonic acid (PFHxS)
  • Perfluoroheptanoic acid (PFHpA)
  • Perfluorodecanoic acid (PFDA)

MWRA recently tested for 18 of these PFAS compounds, using extremely sensitive testing methods, and detected trace amounts of seven of them, including five of those listed above. All were at levels too low to quantify accurately and well below all federal or state guidelines or standards, including those being considered by Mass DEP.

These compounds are persistent in the environment and have been used for decades in a number of everyday products. MWRA will continue to perform testing and closely monitor developments in the science around this issue.

MWRA tests the water supply each year for over 120 contaminants to ensure the water supplied is of the highest quality. For more information about PFAS and all other drinking water tests or if you have any questions about water quality, please visit MWRA's Water Testing page, which includes all of our annual and monthly test results, or contact us at 617-242-5323.

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Updated August 23, 2019

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