FARMERSBURG, Ind. (WTWO/WAWV) — Test results reported by the Indiana Department of Environmental Management show that customers of both Indiana American Water’s Farmersburg plant as well as the Sullivan-Vigo Rural Water Corporation are receiving water with higher than advised levels of PFAS.
According to the results, the two organizations were among nine that were found to have PFAS still present in treated/finished drinking water. The other’s were located in Perry, Gibson, Decatur, Crawford, and Cass, and Carroll counties.
According to the Environmental Protection Agency, PFAS have been linked to health problems in humans.
“Human studies have found associations between PFOA and/or PFOS exposure and several types of health effects including the liver, the immune system, the cardiovascular system, human development (e.g., decreased birth weight), and cancer,” the EPA website reads.
When contacted for comment Sullivan-Vigo Rural Water Corporation explained that they actually do not treat or pump any water themselves, instead purchasing their water from Indiana American Water.
MyWabashValley.com has reached out to Indiana American Water for comment, but have not heard back as of the time of publication. This article will be updated with their response should we hear back.
In 2022 the EPA lowered the threshold for a health advisory related to PFOA and PFOS in drinking water after studies found that the chemicals were more dangerous than initially thought.
EPA Q and A page regarding PFAS in drinking water.
“The 2022 interim updated health advisories for PFOA and PFOS are based on human epidemiology studies in populations exposed to these chemicals. Based on those studies and EPA’s draft analyses, the levels at which negative health effects could occur are much lower than previously understood when EPA issued the 2016 health advisories for PFOA and PFOS (70 parts per trillion or ppt).”
IDEM is currently in the process of testing the state’s larger water treatment plants that service 10,000 or more customers with that testing scheduled from January 2023 to May 2023. IDEM says that the Health Advisory Level set by the EPA is not a legally enforceable federal standard and is currently advisory in nature.
However as new information continues to become available, that could change as the EPA develops it’s legally enforceable standards. IDEM says that filtration and chemical treatment can remedy the level of PFAS in water.
IDEM explains PFAS as follows;
For more information about PFAS detected in Indiana drinking water and testing results visit the IDEM PFA page online here.