PFAS detected in Kunia Village water system

Posted on Jan 20, 2023 in Newsroom

HONOLULU – Low levels of chemicals known as PFAS (perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances) have been detected in water samples collected at the Kunia Village water system’s Del Monte Kunia 3 well.

Although long-term consumption of drinking water with PFAS could be a health risk, the low levels of PFAS in the Kunia Village water system are not an acute health threat. No immediate action is necessary for the system’s 650 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.

Levels of the PFAS chemicals perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) and perfluorooctane sulfonic acid (PFOS) detected at Kunia Village are very low but are above the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) new, interim health advisory levels thus potentially posing a health risk over a lifetime of consumption.

In June 2022, EPA proposed new interim health advisory levels for PFOS and PFOA, at 0.00002 micrograms per liter (ug/L) and 0.000004 ug/L, respectively. These levels are much lower than the prior EPA health advisory for PFOS and PFOA, which were both at 0.070 ug/L.

The new, interim advisory levels have been set to avoid human health risks based on a lifetime of consuming water containing that level of contaminant and are undergoing further evaluation. The chemical levels confirmed at Kunia Village are listed in the table below.

PFAS ChemicalDetected Levels (ug/L)EPA’s Lifetime Health Advisory Level (ug/L)1DOH’s Environmental Action Level (ug/L)1,2
Perfluorobutanoic acid (PFBA)0.0061 – 0.0064 7.6
Perfluoropentanoic acid (PFPeA)0.019 – 0.021 0.8
Perfluorohexanoic acid (PFHxA)0.030 – 0.035 1.0
Perfluoroheptanoic acid (PFHpA)0.0099 – 0.011 0.04
Perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA)0.022 – 0.0270.0000040.006
Perfluorobutanesulfonic acid (PFBS)0.0087 – 0.00972.00.60
Perfluoroheptanesulfonic acid (PFHpS)0.0027 0.02
Perfluoropentanesulfonic acid (PFPeS)0.0090 – 0.010  
Perfluorohexanesulfonic acid (PFHxS)0.069 – 0.073 0.04
Perfluorooctanesulfonic acid (PFOS)0.045 – 0.0500.000020.004
1H, 1H, 2H, 2H-Perfluorooctane sulfonic acid (6:2 FTS)0.018 – 0.019 0.78

1Boxes left blank indicate that a level has not been set for that chemical

2 EALs for groundwater that is a source of drinking water

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 or

Concentrations of PFOS, PFOA, and Perfluorohexane sulfonate (PFHxS) also exceeded the DOH Hazard Evaluation and Emergency Response Office’s (HEER) Environmental Action Levels and the EPA Regional Screening Levels, which are conservative, risk-based screening levels calculated based on long-term exposure. The HEER Office is reviewing the PFAS findings to evaluate compliance with other environmental regulations and any required remediation.

The Kunia Village system continues to be in full compliance with all federal and state standards for drinking water.

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