Nov 21, 2019

Louisville, Ky., Discovers PFAS in Drinking Water

A report revealed per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) contamination in Louisville, Ky., public drinking water systems. 

Louisville, Ky., Discovers PFAS in Drinking Water

A new report from the Kentucky Energy and Environment Cabinet revealed 41 of 81 public drinking water systems in Louisville, Ky., tested for per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) contamination.

Perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS) and perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) were detected at 42.1 ppt in the drinking water. Groundwater connected to the Ohio River saw PFAS detections in about 41% of samples, according to the report

Adding the other PFAS compounds found in the water in South Shore, this number would reach 65.67 ppt, which is close to the EPAs standard of 70 ppt.

The highest levels were found in public drinking water systems that pulled from waters connected to the Ohio River, according to Bloomberg Environment

Three PFAS compounds at two different water treatment plants were detected, according to the report. State officials link this to the amount of industry near the waterway. Together, these two plants provide water for about half of the Kentucky’s population.

In about 82% of the samples, researchers found levels under 5 ppt, which is far below the health advisory limits set by the U.S. EPA.

“As an emerging contaminant, PFAS contamination is becoming more of an issue. And owing to the fact that it’s currently unregulated, doesn’t mean it might not be an issue for the public,” said Tony Hatton, commissioner of the state Department of Environmental Protection. “What I would tell [the public] is based on the current state of science and the numbers that we have that their drinking water is below a level determined by the EPA to be safe for lifetime consumption.” 

Kentucky, like most states, has no reporting requirements for PFAS compounds and no discharge limits into watersheds like the Ohio River. 

The DEP is looking for industrial sources of contamination around its wellheads, according to WFPL News Louisville.

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