Jan 03, 2022

Iowa Department of Natural Resources Discovers PFAS in West Des Moines Drinking Water

West Des Moines was the only city to have detectable levels of two prominent PFAS in its treated drinking water

iowa

Treated drinking water in West Des Moines, Iowa, contains per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), according to the Iowa Department of Natural Resources.

The DNR is testing water in at least 59 cities at their sources and after treatment, reported Iowa Capital Dispatch. 

West Des Moines was the only city to have detectable levels of two prominent PFAS in its treated drinking water, reported Iowa Capital Dispatch. Des Moines’ treated water did not have detectable levels, however. According to the latest DNR test results, at least three of West Des Moines Water Works’ groundwater wells have levels of perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) and perfluorooctane sulfonic acid (PFOS). The source of the contamination is unclear.

“Our drinking water is safe and in compliance with all standards set by the DNR and EPA,” said Christina Murphy, general manager of West Des Moines Water Works in a statement by West Des Moines Water Works. “This category of chemicals is gaining awareness as water standards evolve. This is the first time any of our wells or finished water registered a detectable level of PFAS substances.” 

The two chemicals were detected in concentrations of 2.9 and 2.4 parts per trillion (ppt) respectively in West Des Moines’ treated drinking water. The concentrations were as high as 29 and 16 ppt in the wells.

Advertisement

West Des Moines Water Works shut down the well with the highest amount of PFAS contamination and there has been no further testing of that water. 18 other wells that were not part of the initial tests, reported the Iowa Department of Natural Resources. 

An investigation into the source of contamination is underway. Water Works will test its treated water for PFAS every three months, according to the Iowa Department of Natural Resources. . 

Water from West Des Moines wells are treated and pumped to most of the residential areas of the city. About 30% of the city’s water is provided by Des Moines Water Works as well. 

A water source for Iowa City also had detectable amounts of PFOS at 2.4 parts per trillion (ppt) in the Iowa City Sand Pit, but remains undetected in the city’s treated water, reported the city.

The full test results will be posted by the IDNR at the agency’s PFAS webpage here.

Read related content about drinking water:

WQP_subscribeCTA

expand_less