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.
MWRA recently received new testing results using extremely sensitive analytical methods for 18 different PFAS compounds using a DEP approved laboratory and methods. In previous sampling conducted in 2013-2015, using the then best available test methods required by EPA, MWRA had not detected any PFAS.
Using test methods that can detect the presence of these chemicals down to levels below a part per trillion (ppt), MWRA found evidence that some these chemicals may be in our water at trace amounts, but at levels too low to quantify accurately. These chemicals are persistent and have been used in products we all use for decades. It not surprising, given those very low detection levels, that we found trace amounts even in our well-protected waters.
These trace amounts are well below all current and proposed health guidelines or standards in Massachusetts and other states. MWRA is conducting additional testing to help determine what the source of these trace amounts may be.
These results have been reported to MassDEP and are posted on MWRA’s web site.
MWRA PFAS Test Results
August 2019 (PDF)