May 1, 2023

Nine small Indiana drinking water utilities have levels of PFAS above federal health guidelines

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Because the state started testing for PFAS before the new EPA health guidelines came out, it's possible more utilities have harmful levels of the chemicals.  - Rebecca Thiele/IPB News

Because the state started testing for PFAS before the new EPA health guidelines came out, it's possible more utilities have harmful levels of the chemicals.

Rebecca Thiele/IPB News

The state detected harmful PFAS in the treated drinking water at more than two dozen small water utilities in Indiana. Among other things, exposure to the human-made chemicals has been linked to kidney cancer, problems with the immune system and developmental issues in children.

This is the second round of testing the Indiana Department of Environmental Management (IDEM) has done for PFAS in public water utilities.

Nine of those water utilities had PFAS levels above federal health guidelines: Delphi Water Works, Crescent Hills Mobile Home Park, Leavenworth Water Company, Westport Water Company, Haubstadt Water Department, And-Tro Water Authority - District 1, Troy Township Water Association, Indiana American Water - Farmersburg and Sullivan-Vigo Rural Water Corp.

The Environmental Protection Agency recently discovered PFAS are much more harmful than we once thought — even at barely detectable levels. The agency has proposed limiting the two most well-known PFAS to 4 parts per trillion (ppt) in drinking water. That’s more than 17 times lower than the current limit.

READ MORE: EPA aims to limit toxic PFAS in drinking water

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IDEM is still working to test the drinking water at the state's largest water utilities. That work is expected to be done by the end of May.

Because the state started testing for PFAS before the new EPA health guidelines came out, it's possible more utilities have harmful levels of the chemicals. IDEM hopes to update its round one results in the coming weeks.

IDEM has published the results of its PFAS testing on its website.

Rebecca is our energy and environment reporter. Contact her at rthiele@iu.edu or follow her on Twitter at @beckythiele.

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