The North Ottawa Water System tested the treated water for PFAS (
sometimes known as perflourinated chemicals or PFCs) – a large group of manmade chemicals that are fire resistant, and repel oil, stains, grease, and water.
Results from Eurofins Eaton Analytical are noted in the summary below:
Perfluorooctanesulfonic acid (PFOS) = 4.0 ppt (parts per trillion)
Perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) = 4.0 ppt
Total or combined results = 8.0 ppt
This is well below the EPA’s 70 ppt Lifetime Health Advisory (LHA) level. (
One part per trillion is equivalent to one second is 31,500 years.)
Because PFAS compounds are so prevalent within the environment and are found in manufactured products ranging from shampoo to cosmetics to paint to pesticides, it was expected that the NOWS water testing would find some level of PFAS in the drinking, especially with the “infinitesimal testing” that can occur in modern laboratories.
However, studies on low level exposure to PFAS have not provided any evidence that these levels cause harm in humans.
That said, if residents are concerned with the level of PFAS in the NOWS drinking water, some reverse osmosis filters or point-of-use (POU) granular activated carbon systems are certified to reduce PFAS. These systems will have the NSF P473 certification.
There may be other filters that lower PFAS. However, without the NSF P473 certification, it can be difficult to know which filters effectively reduce PFAS and which do not.