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PFAS Testing in MWRA Drinking Water

Massachusetts Water Resources Authority

You might have seen recent news reports about per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (together abbreviated as PFAS). 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 (MassDEP) set a standard of 20 parts per trillion on October 2, 2020 for the sum of these six PFAS compounds (called PFAS6)

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

While the new regulation’s testing requirements did not kick in until 2021, MWRA tested for the six regulated PFAS as well as a dozen other PFAS compounds, using extremely sensitive testing methods, beginning in 2019.  MWRA began quarterly testing as required by the MassDEP regulation in January 2021.

As expected given MWRA’s well-protected watersheds and reservoirs, MWRA easily met the new standard. No more than trace amounts were detected, too low to be quantified. The sum of the six regulated PFAS compounds was zero, below the new MassDEP standard of 20 parts per trillion.

Results are posted below.

MWRA PFAS Test Results

August 2019 (PDF)
January 2021 (PDF)
April 2021 (PDF)

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Updated May 24, 2021

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