What are PFAS?

What Are PFAS?

Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) are a group of man-made chemicals that includes PFOA, PFOS, GenX, and many other chemicals. PFAs are commonly found in every household and in products as diverse as:

  • Food packaged in PFAS- coPFAS_Web_Bannerntaining materials, processed with equipment that used PFAS, or grown in PFAS-contaminated soil or water.
  • Commercial household products, including stain- and water-repellent fabrics, nonstick products (e.g., Teflon), polishes, waxes, paints, cleaning products, and fire-fighting foams (a major source of groundwater contamination at airports and military bases where firefighting training occurs).
  • Workplace, including production facilities or industries (e.g., chrome plating, electronics manufacturing or oil recovery) that use PFAS.
  • Drinking water, typically localized and associated with a specific facility (e.g., manufacturer, landfill, wastewater treatment plant, firefighter training facility).
  • Living organisms, including fish, animals and humans, where PFAS have the ability to build up and persist over time.

What are PFAS used for?

PFAS have been manufactured and used in a variety of industries around the globe since the 1940s. In the 1950s, companies began manufacturing PFOA and PFOS, two types of PFAS, for product applications because of their ability to repel water, protect surfaces, resist heat and many other useful properties.

Two of the most common types (PFOS and PFOA) were phased out of production in the United States in 2002 and 2015 respectively but are still present in some imported products.

What is Nampa doing about PFAS?

Currently, PFAs and PFOs are not federally regulated, and public water systems are not required to monitor these containments. Idaho has adopted EPA’s national primary drinking water standard to ensure the safest and highest quality product for our residents.  The City of Nampa is actively engaging EPA and Idaho DEQ to monitor conservations surrounding PFAs and PFOs regulatory actions.

Nampa staff is actively working to provide clarity and direction for citizens and staff towards emerging constituents prior to federal regulation implementation. This is to include technical memorandums, PFAS testing plans, assessing grant funding opportunities, and addressing elected officials and citizens through informative presentations. 

The Waterworks Division is participating in the fifth Unregulated Contaminant Monitoring Rule study regarding drinking water analyzed in drinking wells used around Nampa. Nampa’s Waterworks Division has tested for PFAS compounds as early as 2014 and has not had a positive detection. 

The Wastewater Division is conducting voluntary PFAS source assessments of industrial users, residential sectors, Phyllis Canal, Indian Creek, and the wastewater treatment facilities influent, effluent, and biosolids. This study will be completed prior to U.S. Environmental Protection Agency wastewater PFAS rulemaking to establish a baseline and direct mitigation efforts in a targeted cost-effective approach. 

What are the sources of PFAS to wastewater treatment facilities?

Wastewater treatment facilities potentially receive PFAS from two major sources—industries and residential customers contributing to the sewer system. Industrial sources range from metal finishing, electroplating, semiconductor assembly, and plastic molding operations. Residential sources can come from any number of PFAS associated material that is washed such as carpets, select waterproof fabrics, personal care products, and non-stick cookware.

How can you help minimize your exposure to PFAS chemicals?PFAS Guide to lessen exposure

How can you learn more?

Our Current Testing Plan

- City of Nampa Technical Memo

- City of Nampa PFAS FAQ's

- City of Nampa PFAS Presentation

- EPA PFAS Testing Strategy 2021

- EPA PFAS Action Plan 2019

- EPA PFAS Activity Timeline

- EPA Preliminary Effluent Guidelines Plan 2021 (PFOS)

Additional EPA Resources:

- https://www.epa.gov/pfas

- https://www.epa.gov/pfas/pfas-strategic-roadmap-epas-commitments-action-2021-2024

- https://www.epa.gov/pfas/pfas-resources-data-and-tools

- https://www.deq.idaho.gov/water-quality/drinking-water/pfas-and-idaho-drinking-water/

- https://www.cdc.gov/biomonitoring/PFAS_FactSheet.html

- https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/nhanes/ 

- https://lottcleanwater.org/projects/reclaimed-water-infiltration-study/

- https://www.cityofnampa.us/297/Water-Quality

- https://www.atsdr.cdc.gov/pfas/health-effects/index.html

- https://www.atsdr.cdc.gov/pfas/activities/assessments/final-report.html

- https://www.niehs.nih.gov/health/topics/agents/pfc/index.cfm

- https://www.deq.idaho.gov/water-quality/drinking-water/pfas-and-idaho-drinking-water/

- https://www.epa.gov/pfas/basic-information-pfas