Per- and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances (PFAS)

Skagit PUD's drinking water remains safe and protected from contaminants, including the group of man-made chemicals labeled PFAS (per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances). PFAS are manufactured for a variety of industrial purposes. If detected in drinking water, PFAS have the potential to raise health concerns.

What are PFAS?

PFAS are chemicals used in industrial and consumer products, such as carpeting, clothing, upholstery, food paper wrappings, fire-fighting foams, and metal plating worldwide since the 1940s.

Some epidemiological studies in people suggest that exposure to PFAS increases cholesterol levels, reduces birth weight and may increase rates of some types of cancers (kidney and testicular cancer).

The newly released movie “Dark Waters,” which is based on a true story, focuses on the use of PFAS in the United States and how these “forever chemicals” are found in everything from clothing to drinking water and subsequently the human bloodstream. The chemicals do not biodegrade and can accumulate in water bodies and have potentially serious health consequences.

Monitoring Efforts

Currently, the PFAS are not regulated contaminants and routine monitoring is not required, but Skagit PUD monitored for six types of PFAS in 2014-2015 (under the Environmental Protection Agency’s third Unregulated Contaminant Monitoring Rule) in our Judy Reservoir water system serving Mount Vernon, Sedro-Woolley and Burlington. Test results show no detection (ND) of these chemicals in the Judy Reservoir water.

PFAS-Chart

Resources

Washington Department of Health has proposed to adopt state action level for PFAS and currently is open for stakeholder comments: https://www.doh.wa.gov/CommunityandEnvironment/DrinkingWater/RegulationandCompliance/RuleMaking

Detailed information regarding PFAS can be found on the EPA website: https://www.epa.gov/pfas

Skagit PUD is committed to protecting the Judy Reservoir watershed and prohibits any activities that can introduce PFAS compounds or any other contaminants in the source water.  

Map of PFAS Contamination in the U.S.: https://www.ewg.org/interactive-maps/2019_pfas_contamination/map/