PFAS & Drinking Water

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PFAS in drinking water is a nationwide concern. More information and resources regarding PFAS and its potential impacts can be found on the EPA website.

IEPA PFAS Testing Study

The Illinois Environmental Protection Agency (IEPA) recently tested our water system for 18 compounds known as Per-and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances (PFAS) as part of a statewide investigation of community water supplies. As stated earlier, PFAS are a group of thousands of man-made substances that have been produced in the United States since the 1940s and utilized for a variety of applications ranging from stain/water-proofing to firefighting. Some PFAS have been phased out of production in the United States due to environmental and human health concerns, yet they remain in the environment and may contaminate surface and ground waters.

As of January 2021, neither the Illinois EPA nor the U.S. EPA has developed enforceable drinking water standards for PFAS. However, in the meantime, the Illinois EPA has developed health-based screening levels for the small number of PFAS for which there is adequate health information to do so. Screening levels are intended to be protective of all people consuming the water over a lifetime of exposure. Currently, there is not enough information or data available for scientists to develop health-based screening levels for all of the PFAS sampled, however, some of the analytes do have health-based screening levels associated with them.

While none of the analytes detected in Rockford drinking water were above the established health-based screening levels, Illinois EPA testing has determined that two PFAS were detected in our water system at levels greater than or equal to the lowest concentration the laboratory can reliably detect, shown as the Minimum Reporting Level as shown in the table below. The levels are presented in units of nanogram per liter (ng/L) or parts per trillion (ppt).

1 Part Per Trillion (PPT) Is Equivalent to a Single Drop of Water in 20 Olympic-Sized Swimming Pools

The Rockford Water Division has taken measures to respond to the results of this testing. As a proactive measure(s) to protect our drinking water supply, we are working to:

  • Monitor PFAS levels through quarterly well site sampling beginning in January 2021
  • Evaluate treatment options if necessary
  • Implement treatment options if required

View a summary of the compounds detected in our water system as a result of the IEPA study (PDF). There were two compounds detected at very low levels in three of our wells. There were no detects in any of our remaining wells.