Tips for Well Owners

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How Am I Exposed to PFAS?

98% of Americans have PFAS – human-made chemicals common in water-resistant and non-stick products – In their blood. One source of exposure can be drinking water. The U.S. EPA and some states have set guidelines; however, there are no enforceable federal standards for PFAS levels in drinking water. But you, as a private well owner, can take steps to protect your family’s health. Determine if there is known contamination to the water in your area. If so, explore available treatment options.

Are There PFAS in My Well Water?

As a homeowner or renter, you are rarely required to test your well water and likely have never tested for PFAS. If you live near PFAS-­producing industrial plants, military bases, firefighting training areas, or municipal airports that use PFAS-containing firefighting foam, testing is warranted. Contact your local, county, or state health officials. Seek guidance on which labs are certified to test for PFAS. Ask what the cost might be and if funding assistance is available. *

*Cape Code residents well water testing information.

What If There Are PFAS in My Well Water?

If your water exceeds a state or federal guideline, the short-term solution is to switch to drinking bottled water. Check online for PFAS-free brands. Boiling does not remove PFAS and can instead concentrate the chemicals. The long-term solution is a home water treatment system. The most common PFAS chemicals, PFOS and PFOA, can be removed by either activated carbon filters or reverse osmosis systems. NSF International ( certifies treatment systems for PFOS and PFOA removal under its protocol P473. But remember: your treatment system will only be as effective as your regular maintenance.

Should I Treat More Than Drinking Water?

If your well has PFAS contamination, you can treat all the water coming into your home, or just treat water used for drinking and cooking, which are the largest sources of exposure. For example, there is less exposure from eating backyard garden produce grown with PFAS-contaminated water and low to no exposure from showering, laundering, and dishwashing. Consider the potential impacts of PFAS exposure as you choose the best well water treatment option for your family’s protection.