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Fact Sheet: Important Information about PFAS

What is the newest information about PFAS?
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) on April 10, 2024, announced the final National Primary Drinking Water Regulation for six per- and poly-fluoroalkyl substances (PFAS).

Des Moines Water Works (DMWW) is and has been proactively monitoring for PFAS in our source waters and finished drinking water for several years.

First, what are PFAS compounds?
PFAS is a category of man-made chemicals designed to resist heat, oil, stains and water in items such as Teflon, Gore-Tex and even pizza boxes and fast-food wrappers. It is also found in certain firefighting foam used at airports and on military installations. During production and use, PFAS can migrate into soil, water and air. Drinking water can be an additional source of exposure in communities where these chemicals have entered the water source such as a river.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regulates the safe levels for hundreds of compounds in drinking water. Recently, the EPA established legally enforceable levels, called Maximum Contaminant Levels (MCLs) for six PFAS in drinking water.

What does the EPA’s action mean?
The EPA set the MCLs as shown in the chart below.

In addition, the final EPA rule requires:

  • Public water systems must monitor for these PFAS and have three years to complete initial monitoring (by 2027), followed by ongoing compliance monitoring. Water systems must also provide the public with information on the levels of these PFAS in their drinking water beginning in 2027.
  • Public water systems have five years (by 2029) to implement solutions that reduce these PFAS if monitoring shows that drinking water levels exceed these MCLs.
  • Beginning in five years (2029), public water systems that have PFAS in drinking water which violates one or more of these MCLs must take action to reduce levels of these PFAS in their drinking water and must provide notification to the public of the violation.

What is happening in DMWW’s treated water?
DMWW’s treated drinking water continues to meet all state and federal regulatory requirements, including the new MCLs for all PFAS compounds. DMWW customers may continue to drink tap water.

Many water utilities, including our scientists at Des Moines Water Works are conducting research to determine the levels of PFAS in our water and what treatment options can reduce levels.

PFAS Monitoring Results at Fleur Drive Treatment Plant
(All samples at other treatment plants showed non-detectable levels of all PFAS tested)

PFAS Compound

Previous EPA Health Advisory Level

Des Moines Water Works
Monitoring Averages

Final National Primary Drinking Water Regulation (ppt)


70 ppt combined with PFOS


4.0 ppt


70 ppt combined with PFOA

2.2 ppt

4.0 ppt



3.4 ppt

10 ppt




10 ppt

Gen X



10 ppt

mixtures containing two or more of PFHxS, PFNA, HFPO-DA and PFBS



1 (unitless) Hazard Index

ppt = parts per trillion

What is DMWW doing about PFAS?
DMWW continues to sample raw and finished water quarterly to:

  • Determine the levels of PFAS in our water with additional monitoring and identify any patterns
  • Understand established and emerging treatment options
  • Develop practical and feasible strategies to reduce levels of PFAS

The lower the level, the lower the risk. Public health and the quality of your drinking water is our top priority.

DMWW continues to work closely with regulators at the EPA and the Iowa DNR, as well as keeping in close touch with our Congressional delegations in hopes of bringing focus and solutions to addressing PFAS in drinking water supplies.

If you have questions, please contact Des Moines Water Works at (515) 283-8700. We are always available to talk about how we produce and deliver your safe drinking water to 600,000 central Iowans.

For more information, please see EPA's Frequently Asked Questions

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