PFAS Test Results
The Central Brown County Water Authority is a steward of public health and has an established history as a wholesale provider of quality drinking water to more than 90,000 residents in the member communities of Allouez, Bellevue, De Pere, Howard, Lawrence and Ledgeview. In 2024, the Village of Denmark will also begin receiving water from the Authority.
The Water Authority receives its water through a partnership with Manitowoc Public Utilities (MPU), the entity which draws water from Lake Michigan and then treats it for its customers, including the Water Authority. To ensure public safety, MPU works diligently to meet strict water quality standards set by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Wisconsin’s Department of Natural Resources (WDNR).
In recent years, a chemical group called PFAS has been linked to negative health effects. Due to their ability to resist water, oil and heat, PFAS have been used for decades in a variety of items including firefighting foam, cookware, clothing, food wrappers and many other commonly used items. These compounds move freely through the environment and do not break down easily, which has led to PFAS being found almost everywhere.
The EPA has recently recommended new national drinking water standards for six PFAS chemicals that can be found in drinking water. Last year, Wisconsin adopted state drinking water standards for two of these six chemicals. These six compounds, along with 23 others, have been recently tested for by MPU with results indicating our water is well below the EPA’s proposed limits. The Water Authority and MPU are closely monitoring developments as more is learned about PFAS.
Of the 29 PFAS substances tested, most were not detected. Six PFAS analytes were detected at low levels including:
- Perfluorobutanesulfonic acid (PFBS)
- Perfluorohexanesulfonic acid (PFHxS)
- Perfluoroheptanoic acid (PFHpA)
- Perfluorohexanoic acid (PFHxA)
- Perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA)
- Perfluorooctanesulfonic acid (PFOS)
The following tables present the PFAS testing results (provided by an independent laboratory) as compared to the national standards proposed by EPA. EPA proposed a maximum contaminant level for PFOA and PFOS of 4 parts per trillion*. EPA also proposed evaluating risk for additional types of PFAS based on a hazard index, which is calculated by comparing the levels of each PFAS to its proposed limit and adding those quotients together. If the hazard index is equal to or above 1, the water may pose a health risk.
Based on these results, MPU water complies with the proposed limits and has a hazard index of 0.0757, well below the EPA’s proposed limit. MPU will test multiple times throughout 2023, and the results will be posted here. In addition, MPU reports all water quality test results to the WDNR and the EPA which are then posted on their websites for public access.
* See “How is PFAS concentration measured?” in the FAQ link on the left navigation bar for an explanation of parts per trillion.