ALP Utilities recently conducted voluntary testing of all municipal drinking water supply wells for per-and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) to determine if these emerging contaminants are present in our water system. This sampling was conducted as a proactive measure to ensure continued safe drinking water, and to better understand what emerging contaminants may need to be addressed based on the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) health based guidance for PFAS. Currently, ALP is in compliance with all drinking water regulations, but PFAS was detected in eight municipal wells with two of those wells slightly exceeding MDH’s Health Risk Index (HRI) of one. Since water from all wells in ALP’s water system are combined before distribution from the treatment plant, water consumed by ALP customers remains below the current HRI of one.
PFAS are a large group of human-made chemicals that break down very slowly over time. They are considered an emerging contaminant that may contribute to negative health impacts with long-term, high levels of exposure. A water system or well is not the source of the contaminant. PFAS enters the water system through ground water.
Several PFAS chemicals have been used for decades in many industrial applications and consumer products such as carpeting, waterproof clothing, upholstery, food paper wrappings, personal care products, fire-fighting foams, and metal plating. There are thousands of PFAS chemicals and more evolving over time, which makes it challenging to study and assess the potential human health and environmental risks. This can also be the reasons why the EPA or MDH have not regulated them at this point.
ALP is steadfast in its commitment to ensuring the delivery of safe and potable drinking water to City of Alexandria residents and commercial establishments. As part of this commitment, ALP is actively collaborating with the Minnesota Department of Health and is participating in a pilot study aimed at identifying the most effective methods for removing PFAS from its water treatment system. In addition, ALP is working with the
Minnesota Pollution Control Agency on determining whether or not a source of the contamination can be determined.
It will also be important for City of Alexandria residents and businesses to know we all play a role in reducing the impacts of PFAS in our community. We all need to do our part in reducing PFAS consumption and usage. We encourage everyone to be a part of the solutions by becoming educated on the environmental impacts and health risks associated with PFAS. ALP will continue to do its part in keeping our residents and businesses updated on the impacts of PFAS on our water system as we work towards a water treatment solution which will eliminate the levels of PFAS in our drinking water.
As always, please contact ALP with any questions or concerns at 320-763-6501.
For more information regarding PFAS, please visit: http://www.alputilities.com/pfas
MDH Dashboard Link Showing Drinking Water Test Results: https://www.health.state.mn.us/communities/environment/water/pfasmap.html
MDH Links to Reducing Exposure to PFAS: https://www.health.state.mn.us/communities/environment/hazardous/docs/pfas/pfasreducingexp.pdf
MDH Link to More Information on PFAS: https://www.health.state.mn.us/communities/environment/hazardous/topics/pfcs.html
MDH Link to PFAS and Home Treatment of Water: https://www.health.state.mn.us/communities/environment/hazardous/topics/pfashometreat.html