Read the full article by Jared Strong (Louisiana Illuminator)

“Drinking water that is drawn from the Mississippi River by three Iowa cities has toxic chemicals that persist indefinitely in the environment, according to test results released this week by the Iowa Department of Natural Resources.

Burlington, Davenport and Keokuk drinking water that goes to a combined total of more than 183,000 residents contains trace amounts of perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances — commonly known as PFAS or ‘forever chemicals.’

The DNR tests of the water are part of the department’s survey of dozens of community water supplies across the state in recent months. Previously published tests found PFAS in AmesSioux City, Rock Valley and West Des Moines water.

The new data also show the presence of PFAS in other Mississippi River towns of Camanche and Muscatine, but they draw water from wells.

The tests revealed combined concentrations of two prominent PFAS — perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) and perfluorooctane sulfonic acid (PFOS) — of fewer than 10 parts per trillion, which is well below the current federal safety threshold of 70 parts per trillion. However, it was the first time the DNR tests found the chemicals in notable concentrations in a major river, where large amounts of water can hide contaminations.

‘There’s a huge dilution factor,’ said Shane Johnson, general manager of Burlington Municipal Waterworks.

Tests of Burlington water found combined PFAS concentrations of 6.5 parts per trillion in the raw water that is drawn from the Mississippi and slightly higher concentrations of 7.2 parts per trillion in its treated water. The city will test its water every three months to monitor the contaminant levels.

The precise sources of contamination are unclear because the river drains such a large area upstream, including parts of Illinois, Minnesota and Wisconsin.”…