So-called PFAS “forever chemicals” have been found in the water that millions of New Yorkers rely on for their drinking water source.
This database provides a look at PFAS, or per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, detected in New York drinking water systems in 2021, searchable by county. This data is from the New York State Department of Health.
PFAS are a group of chemicals that are used to make heat- and water-resistant products. They do not break down in the environment and are known to cause health affects in people and animals.
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The 2021 is the latest data available. The New York State Department of Health has not yet posted 2022 data for analysis, though New Yorkers should have received 2022 data individually through their Annual Water Quality Reports.
This data may not match with data that was provided to a resident on their 2021 Annual Water Quality Report, as it does not reflect the level of contaminants found in the water after treatment, or after a contaminated water source was taken out of treatment.
“Water suppliers actively monitor and manage drinking water to respond to contaminants, which means some sources may be out of service and may not be supplying water to the public,” according to the state health department. “People should contact their water supplier or refer to their Annual Water Quality Report for levels of contaminants delivered to their tap water.”
The current New York standard for two main PFAS chemicals, PFOS and PFOA, in drinking water, is 10 parts per trillion. The proposed U.S. EPA standard for those chemicals is 4 parts per trillion.
Here’s what the database shows:
PFOS: Perfluorooctane sulfonic acid
PFOA: Perfluorooctanoic acid
Population: Number of people served by water system
No. of samples: The number of samples that were used in calculating the average and maximum level
Max. level (ppt): Measured in parts per trillion. Maximum concentration of the chemical during the testing period. A blank or empty result means the chemical was not detected.
Avg. level (ppt): Measured in parts per trillion. Average concentration of the chemical during the testing period. A blank or empty result means the chemical was not detected.
Hayleigh Colombo is a member of the Lee Enterprises Public Service Journalism Team.