Low levels of PFAS detected in Makakilo Well

Posted on Feb 10, 2023 in Newsroom

HONOLULU – Low levels of Perfluoropentanoic acid (PFPeA) has been detected in water samples collected at Makakilo Well, which is part of the Honolulu Board of Water Supply’s (BWS) Ewa-Waianae water system.  PFPeA is part of the group of perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS). 

PFPeA is not a regulated drinking water contaminant.  However, the Department of Health set an environmental action level (EAL) for PFPeA in groundwater that is a source of drinking water.  The detected levels of PFPeA in the Makakilo Well ranged from 0.0021 micrograms per liter (ug/L) to 0.0023 ug/L, well below the EAL of at 0.8 ug/L.

Although long-term consumption of drinking water with PFAS could be a health risk, the low levels of PFAS in the Ewa-Waianae water system are not an acute health threat. No immediate action is necessary for the system’s users. However, those concerned may use a home filtration option to reduce PFAS.

Click here for an EPA article describing technologies for reducing PFAS in drinking water. Filters should be NSF certified for removing PFAS. A list of NSF certified filters can be found here.

According to Deputy Director of Environmental Health Kathleen Ho, “Because PFAS chemicals are used in so many products and industries, it is not uncommon to see them contaminating drinking water at low levels. However, it is very important for the public to be aware of the presence of these contaminants. We will continue to review the science and work with federal and local partners to better understand the risks of PFAS and reduce exposure to these chemicals.”

According to the EPA, PFAS are fluorinated organic chemicals that have been used extensively in consumer products such as carpets, clothing, fabrics for furniture, paper packaging for food, and other materials (e.g., cookware) designed to be waterproof, stain-resistant, or non-stick. They are also a component of fire-fighting foam and have many industrial uses. For general information on PFAS, please see https://www.epa.gov/pfas or https://health.hawaii.gov/pfas.

The Ewa-Waianae water system serves approximately 271,500 individuals and is located on the leeward side of O’ahu.  The system continues to be in full compliance with all federal and state standards for drinking water.

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