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 conducted tests showing very low levels of PFAS in your drinking water.

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?

Maine implemented a law in 2021 which sets 20 parts per trillion (ppt) as the limit for any one or the sum of six analytes sampled after water treatment and before distribution to customers.  We have completed the sampling required and our levels are below those set by the state of Maine.

However.

In June, 2022, EPA provided an update regarding certain PFAS health advisories.  The upshot of this new information is that EPA is recommending lower levels of lifetime exposure to certain PFAS chemicals.  Read more about that advisory here.

The District is waiting to learn more about any final rules from the EPA to determine how this affects your drinking water.  At its June meeting the Board authorized the expenditure of up to $25,000 to research treatment methods if they become necessary.

We will continue to carefully monitor the public health and regulatory landscape and provide testing results.

What are GAUD'S TEST RESULTS?

We have found no PFAS levels above 20 ppt in any of the five wells.  The results for 2022 compliance sampling are in the table below.

GAUD PFAS Compliance results

Sample date Sample site PFOS
(ppt)
PFOA
(ppt)
PFNA
(ppt)
PFHxS
(ppt)
PFHpA
(ppt)
PFDA
(ppt)
Sum
(ppt)
3/15/2022 11:10 Triangle Station - combined ND ND ND ND ND ND ND
3/15/2022 10:45 Riverside Station - combined 3.49 4.44 ND ND 2.61 ND 10.5

ND = "not detected"

PFOS = Perfluorooctane sulfonic acid
PFOA = Perfluorooctanoic acid
PFNA = Perfluorononanoic acid
PFHxS = Perfluorohexane sulfonic acid
PFHpA = Perfluoroheptanoic acid
PFDA = Perfluorodecanoic acid

Resources

Learn more about PFAS at these websites: