Mobile Area Water and Sewer System (MAWSS) has found per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) in the water.
On June 15, 2022, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued new lifetime health advisories for four PFAS compounds. Recent testing by our water system has indicated the presence of at least one of these compounds in our drinking water at levels above the new advisories.
|1Chemical||Lifetime Health Advisory Level/Value (parts per trillion or ppt)|
|GenX Chemicals||10 (Final)|
|Finished Water||Range PFOS (ng/L)||Range PFOA (ng/L)||GenX chemicals (ng/L)||Range PFBS (ng/L)|
|January - June 2022||1.0 - 1.6||1.8 - 2.2||ND||1.1 - 1.5|
1Perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA), perfluorooctane sulfonic acid (PFOS), perfluorobutane sulfonic acid and its potassium salt (PFBS), and hexafluoropropylene oxide (HFPO) dimer acid and its ammonium salt ("GenX" chemicals)
What actions are being taken?
- We will implement routine monitoring for these compounds.
- We will share these results with you through a public notice mailing, on our website, and in the July 2023 Water Quality Consumer Confidence Report.
What should I do?
- Contact your doctor or health care professional if you are concerned about levels of PFAS found in your drinking water. Consider actions that may reduce your exposure, including installing a home or point of use filter, if possible. Steps are being implemented to understand concerns fully and potentially regulate PFAS at the national level.
- Boiling, freezing, or letting water stand does not reduce PFAS levels.
- Review the EPA's Meaningful and Achievable Steps You Can Take to Reduce Your Risk.
What are PFAS?
PFAS are a group of man-made chemicals that have been in use since the 1940s. PFAS have been found in various consumer products (such as non-stick cookware, stain-resistant coatings for carpet and upholstery, grease-proof food packaging, cosmetics, and cleaning products) and as an ingredient in firefighting foam. PFAS manufacturing and processing facilities, airports, and military installations are some contributors to PFAS releases into the air, soil, and water. Because of their widespread use, most people have been exposed to PFAS, and there is evidence that exposure to certain PFAS may lead to adverse health effects.
Key Points to consider regarding these new health advisories and sample results:
- These new health advisories are well below what is detectable for current EPA laboratory methods, EPA Method 537.1
- The EPA acknowledges these health advisories reflect levels at which adverse effects may occur but that such results are more likely at higher concentrations. These health advisories are not enforceable by ADEM or the EPA. Detections of PFAS or PFOS are not violations of the Safe Drinking Water Act regulating contaminants within US drinking water systems. The Water Quality Report for 2021 is now available on the MAWSS website. Please visit this report at www.mawss.com.
What are the health effects of exposure to PFAS?
Exposure to PFAS may result in a wide range of adverse health outcomes. However, most studies tested on doses of PFAS higher than levels found in the environment, and most studies are on lab animals. These include:
- Developmental effects, including fetuses after exposure during pregnancy or postnatal development (e.g. low birth weight, accelerated puberty, skeletal variations, development of the immune system)
- Cancer (e.g. testicular, kidney)
- Liver effects (e.g. cellular lesions)
- Immune effects (e.g. decreased antibody response to vaccination, decreased immune response)
- Thyroid issues and other effects (e.g. cholesterol changes)
For more information on PFOS, PFOA, PFBS, GenX chemicals, and other PFAS, including possible health outcomes, you may visit these websites:
- Basic information, EPA actions to address PFAS, and links to informational resources:
- Health information, exposure, and links to additional resources for PFAS in drinking water:
- PFAS testing results from Alabama water utilities:
- Additional statements from MAWSS:
Please share this information with everyone who drinks this water, especially those who may not have received this notice directly (for example, people in apartments, nursing homes, schools, and businesses). You can do this by posting this notice publicly or distributing copies by hand or mail.
Click below for a PDF copy of this notice.
Updated July 8, 2022
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