PFAS Contaminants in Drinking Water Around Tampa Bay, Florida
Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) are a group of man-made chemicals that have been used in various industries and consumer products since the 1940s. PFAS include thousands of different chemicals with fluorine atoms bonded to a carbon chain. Some of the most well-known PFAS are perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) and perfluorooctanesulfonic acid (PFOS).
PFAS have made their way into the environment through various sources like industrial discharge, biosolids from wastewater treatment plants, and leachate from landfills. Due to their persistence in the environment and mobility in water, PFAS have been detected in various water sources globally. Studies have found PFAS present in both surface and groundwater.
Presence of PFAS Contaminants in Drinking Water in Tampa Bay Area
Several water systems in Tampa Bay area have found detectable levels of certain PFAS chemicals like PFOA and PFOS in their drinking water. While some PFAS like PFOA and PFOS are no longer manufactured in the US, they are still present in the environment due to their persistence.
The Florida Department of Health has been monitoring and testing drinking water sources across the state for PFAS chemicals. In the Tampa Bay region, PFAS have been detected in drinking water sources serving multiple counties like Hillsborough, Pinellas, and Pasco.
Some of the specific areas where PFAS have been found include:
New Port Richey
While the levels detected so far are below the current EPA health advisory levels, there is evidence that PFAS may cause health effects even at very low doses. Continued monitoring is necessary to ensure safe drinking water for Tampa Bay residents.
Health Concerns with PFAS Exposure
Exposure to certain PFAS chemicals like PFOA and PFOS has been linked to various health effects in human and animal studies. Some of the potential health risks associated with PFAS exposure include:
Increased cholesterol levels
Changes in liver enzymes
Decreased vaccine response in children
Increased risk of high blood pressure or pre-eclampsia in pregnant women
Kidney and testicular cancer
The EPA has established a non-enforceable health advisory level of 70 parts per trillion (ppt) for the sum of PFOA and PFOS in drinking water. However, some states have adopted or proposed lower guidance levels between 10 to 20 ppt based on the latest research. Long-term exposure to PFAS contaminated water, even at low levels, may contribute to adverse health effects.
Sensitive populations like pregnant women, breastfeeding mothers, and young children face higher risks from PFAS exposure. While individual PFAS compounds have different toxicity profiles, the health effects tend to be similar for many of them. Ongoing research continues to reveal additional health concerns linked to these persistent chemicals.
Water Treatment Solutions for Removing PFAS
Unfortunately, PFAS chemicals are not effectively removed by conventional water treatment methods like filtration or disinfection. However, specialized treatment technologies can help reduce PFAS to safe levels in drinking water. Some effective options include:
Activated carbon filtration - Granular activated carbon effectively absorbs and removes many PFAS from water. Periodic replacement of exhausted carbon is needed.
Reverse osmosis - RO uses a semi-permeable membrane that can remove over 90% of many PFAS compounds along with other contaminants.
Ion exchange - Ion exchange resins can exchange PFAS anions present in water with other harmless anions like chlorides. The spent resins then need proper disposal.
Oxidation - Chemical oxidants like ozone and chlorine dioxide can break down certain PFAS compounds into safer byproducts.
Adsorption media tailor-made for PFAS removal.
Proper treatment design and operation is crucial for continuous reduction of PFAS to required levels, often below 10 ppt. Regular monitoring is also recommended to ensure proper functioning of the systems. A customized water treatment solution from a trusted provider can help Tampa Bay residents protect themselves from PFAS and other emerging water contaminants.
Take Action to Safeguard Your Drinking Water
Even small amounts of PFAS in drinking water could negatively impact your health over many years of exposure. Taking proactive measures to treat your water now can help minimize the risks. Aqua-Wise Water Treatment Solutions offers Tampa Bay residents complete testing, customized water treatment, and ongoing support to address PFAS as well as other contaminants like lead, bacteria, and hardness minerals.
Schedule your no-obligation water test today to check for PFAS and get a free consultation on water treatment solutions for your home. Aqua-Wise is a trusted, local company using advanced technology and tailored solutions to give you healthy, clean water for peace of mind. Contact us today to learn more!