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'Forever Chemicals' Found In 67 Of State's Drinking Water Systems

Point Pleasant.jpg
Curtis Tate
/
WVPB
The Ohio River at Point Pleasant, West Virginia. A report from the U.S. Geological Survey found PFAS, or forever chemicals, in 67 of the state's drinking water systems. One cluster is concentrated in the Ohio Valley.

A new report has found “forever chemicals” in dozens of the state’s drinking water systems.

The U.S. Geological Survey detected at least one kind of PFAS in 67 of West Virginia’s drinking water systems.

Of those, 20 were from surface-water sources and the remaining 47 were from groundwater.

The clusters were concentrated in the Ohio River valley and the Eastern Panhandle.

PFAS are synthetic chemicals that don’t break down in the environment. They’re used to make common products such as nonstick cookware, firefighting foam and stain-resistant fabrics.

Recent health advisories from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency say any detectable amounts of them in drinking water endangers human health.

The EPA last week announced a proposal to designate certain types of PFAS as hazardous under federal law.

The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act of last year includes up to $5 billion to remove PFAS from drinking water.

The report was the result of Senate Concurrent Resolution 46 from the state legislature’s 2020 session.

Energy & Environment Reporter, ctate@wvpublic.org, 202-679-8470, @tatecurtis

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