PFAS & Drinking Water
girl drinking water from a glass

PFAS (Per- and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances) & Drinking Water

PFAS (Per- and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances)

PFAS (Per- and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances) are a group of manmade chemicals manufactured in various industries around the globe. Some PFAS persist in the environment, and people can be exposed to these chemicals through air, indoor dust, food, drinking water, and various consumer products. Ongoing research has found that exposure to levels of certain PFAS above health advisory guidelines has been linked to health problems, including:

  • Liver damage
  • Thyroid disease
  • Decreased fertility
  • Lower birth weight
  • Asthma
  • High blood pressure
  • Cancer

Learn More about PFAS and What is Being Done to Address and Better Understand the Issue

The total extent of PFAS in Boulder County’s water resources is unknown. However, ongoing testing has identified PFAS in both Public Water Systems and private drinking water wells in Boulder County. Private drinking water wells for homes in the Sugarloaf Fire Protection District and the Boulder Mountain Fire District have tested above the EPA’s health advisory, most likely due to historical use of firefighting foams that contain PFAS.

In addition, a small number of Public Water Systems in Boulder County have detected PFAS above minimum reporting levels. The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment maintains web map resources that show results from PFAS sampling projects throughout the state. You can use this information to learn whether PFAS have been identified in water supplies in your area. If you have concerns about PFAS in your drinking water, it is recommended that you contact your public water provider or have your private well tested.

Identifying PFAS in Boulder County

To further explore other areas of possible contamination, Boulder County Public Health is working with the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) to conduct additional private well water testing.

The eleven areas shown in the map have been identified as areas to explore further whether PFAS contamination is present and at what levels.

Colorado Department of Public Health & Environment interactive PFAS map

Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment – PFAS Map

Free Private Well Testing

The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment administers the state’s PFAS Grant Program, which offers free private well testing. Private well owners who are interested in having their well tested for PFAS can fill out the sampling request form linked below.

Options for PFAS Drinking Water Treatment

You can reduce your exposure to PFAS in drinking water by utilizing an appropriate water treatment system. Not all water treatment options effectively remove PFAS from your drinking water. Specifically, reverse osmosis and granulated activated carbon technologies have been shown to be effective at removing PFAS. However, when selecting an option for water treatment, it is essential to look for products that have been demonstrated or are certified to remove PFAS to non-detectable levels.

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