Feb 14, 2020

PFAS Testing of Ohio River Underway

Scientists are testing for PFAS along the Ohio River.  

pfas

Scientists are designing a new study to test for per and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) along the Ohio River.  

Previous studies have shown PFAS contamination in drinking water systems along the Ohio Valley, affecting dozens of cities, reported the Allegheny Front.

Scientists are working with the Ohio River Valley Water Sanitation Commission (ORSANCO).

The commission’s work includes monitoring pollution in the river, according to executive director Richard Harrison.

“There was a desire to look at ambient levels of PFAS in the river with this project,” said Harrison. “I believe this is a unique project just because of its focus.”

ORSANCO will conduct two rounds of testing across 20 locations to measure the ambient levels. This will occur when the river is both high and low, reported the Allegheny Front

Testing could begin as early as this fall, according to Harrison. The commission plans to do the sampling while the U.S. EPA is expected to do the analysis.

In 2019, groups in Kentucky detected a range of PFAS compounds in drinking water that came from the Ohio River including GenX, PFOS and PFOA.

Researchers with Kentucky’s Energy and Environment Cabinet found the highest levels and the highest rates of detection in drinking water systems were connected to the Ohio River.

In Louisville, Kentucky, researchers detected three PFAS compounds at two different water treatment plants, reported WFPL. The Louisville Water Company and the Environmental Working Group also detected PFAS compounds at lower levels in Louisville’s drinking water.

Though the detections were far below the health advisory limits set by the EPA, these limits are currently under review and several states are calling for lower standards.

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