You may have heard or read about PFAS, which stands for “per- and poly-fluoroalkyl substances.” Sometimes called “forever chemicals,” these man made substances are very persistent in the environment and can accumulate over time. Because they were deployed so widely, PFAS have been found in many places in our environment, including, in some cases, water sources. The good news for you is that we have just conducted tests showing very low levels of PFAS in your drinking water.  Based on these test results, your water is safe.

At GAUD, we take all water quality issues and concerns seriously, and are committed to keeping you informed. You’ll find basic information about PFAS below as well as links to more detailed resources. As always, if you have any concerns about your drinking water or how we handle our stormwater and wastewater, please contact us at contact@greateraugustautilitydistrict.org or call our office at (207) 622-3701.

What exactly are PFAS?

They are man-made chemicals that show up in ordinary consumer products like non-stick cookware, microwave popcorn bags, flame retardant clothing, furniture and carpets, as well as other industrial products like firefighting foams.

What are the health effects of PFAS?

Scientists are still learning about possible health effects from being exposed to PFAS. Some studies indicate that PFAS exposure may increase cholesterol and liver enzyme levels, interfere with the body’s hormones, affect the immune system and increase the risk of certain types of cancers. Further research is necessary, since these studies are not consistent.

What are the regulations?

The Environmental Protection Agency has issued a Lifetime Health Advisory Level of PFAS in drinking water at 70 parts per trillion (ppt).  Maine implemented a new law in 2021 which sets 20 ppt as the limit for any one or the sum of six analytes sampled after water treatment and before distribution to customers.

What are GAUD'S TEST RESULTS?

Starting in March 2021, we've tested three times and have found no PFAS levels above 20 ppt.  We will continue to test our drinking water supplies to see how seasonal changes in the groundwater table impact PFAS levels.

GAUD PFAS Lab Test Results

October 9, 2021, source water samples

Lab Sample Number Sample Site PFOS (ppt) PFQA (ppt) PFNA (ppt) PFHxS (ppt) PFHpA (ppt) Sum (ppt)
 410-32424-1 Triangle - HD-4 0.77 J I 1.3 J ND/0.49 0.57 J ND/0.49 ND
  410-32424-3 Brookside - HD-5 1.1 J I 1.3 J ND/0.51 ND/0.51 ND/0.51 ND
 410-32424-2 South - HD-6 0.85 J I 0.93 J ND/0.49 ND/0.49 ND/0.49 ND
 410-32424-4 Bonenfant - HD-7 5.5 5.9 0.56 J 1.3 J 3.6 15
 410-32424-5 MainEx - HD-8 2.41* 2.6* ND/0.45 0.68 J 0.94 J 5

Sample Date: 03/09/2021
Laboratory: Katahdin Analytical / Eurofins
Method: EPA 527.1

Bonenfant CI2 = 0.0 mg/L
Phosphate = 0.03 mg/L
Bonenfant ran approx 2 hours without FI prior to sampling
Fluoride result = 0.17 mg/L

J = Result is less than the Reporting Limit but greater than or equal to the Method Detection Limit and the concentration is an approximate value
I = Value is estimated maximum possible concentration
ND/value: If an isotope was not detected, the method detection limit is shown here.
*The recovery labeled isotopes (PFOA, PFOS) in MainEx sample was outside of the QC acceptance limits. Insufficient sample volume was available for a repeat test.

Source water samples below were collected on August 10, 2021 and analyzed by Alpha AnalyticalThese samples include PFDA (not included in the sampling above because the rule hadn't yet included it) which was not detected (ND).

Lab Sample number Sample date Sample site PFOS
(ppt)
PFOA
(ppt)
PFNA
(ppt)
PFHxS
(ppt)
PFHpA
(ppt)
PFDA
(ppt)
Sum
(ppt)
Laboratory Method
L2143059-02 08/10/2021 Brookside ND/1.82 ND/1.82 ND/1.82 ND/1.82 ND/1.82 ND/1.82 0 Alpha Analytical EPA 537
L2143059-03 08/10/2021 South 1.93 3.75 ND/1.79 ND/1.79 ND/1.79 ND/1.79 5.68 Alpha Analytical EPA 537
L2143059-01 08/10/2021 Triangle 2.52 3.48 ND/1.80 ND/1.80 ND/1.80 ND/1.80 6.00 Alpha Analytical EPA 537
L2143059-04 08/10/2021 Bonenfant 7.06 5.92 `ND/1.86 ND/1.86 3.28 ND/1.86 16.26 Alpha Analytical EPA 537
L2143059-05 08/10/2021 MainEx 2.52 3.48 ND/1.80 ND/1.80 ND/1.80 ND/1.80 6 Alpha Analytical EPA 537
L2143062-01 08/10/2021 Carleton Pond ND/1.76 ND/1.76 ND/1.76 ND/1.76 ND/1.76 ND/1.76 0 Alpha Analytical EPA 537

Samples below were collected after treatment, before distribution, on October 13, 2021, in compliance with the new PFAS law.  All sample results are below the 20 ppt interim standard set by the new law.

Lab Sample number Sample date Sample site PFOS
(ppt)
PFOA
(ppt)
PFNA
(ppt)
PFHxS
(ppt)
PFHpA
(ppt)
PFDA
(ppt)
Sum
(ppt)
Laboratory Method
L2155806-01 10/13/2021 Triangle Station ND/1.88 2.25 ND/1.88 ND/1.88 ND/1.88 ND/1.88 2.25 Alpha Analytical EPA 537
L2155806-02 10/13/2021 Riverside Station 5.52 4.43 ND/1.88 ND/1.88 2.52 ND/1.88 12.47 Alpha Analytical EPA 537
Qualifier Description: I = Value is estimated maximum possible concentration.
ND/value: If an isotope was not detected, the method detection limit is shown here.

 

 

Resources

You can learn more about PFAS at these websites: