Water Quality Reports

Per- and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances (PFAS)

PFAS are man-made chemicals used to fight fires and in a variety of products and applications that are resistant to water, grease, or stains, including nonstick cookware, carpets, upholstered furniture, clothing, and food packaging. These chemicals are highly recalcitrant to degradation in the environment and can mobilize into surface and groundwater from areas throughout the country that may have been contaminated for various reasons. These chemicals are currently being reviewed by the EPA to become a regulated contaminant. However,  they are presently unregulated under the Safe Drinking Water Act. 

The US Environmental Protection agency recently announced new health advisories for four PFAS substances, based on new data and analyses. The new interim health advisories are much lower than the previous health advisory set in 2016. PFAS are used to make many products water, oil, and stain-resistant. Because they don’t break down quickly, they can build up in the environment and can get into drinking water sources.

WASHINGTON (June 15, 2022) The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released four drinking water health advisories for per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) in the latest action under President Biden’s action plan to deliver clean water and Administrator Regan’s PFAS Strategic Roadmap. EPA also announced that it is inviting states and territories to apply for $1 billion – the first of $5 billion in Bipartisan Infrastructure Law grant funding – to address PFAS and other emerging contaminants in drinking water, specifically in small or disadvantaged communities. These actions build on EPA’s progress to safeguard communities from PFAS pollution and scientifically inform upcoming efforts, including EPA’s forthcoming proposed National Primary Drinking Water Regulation for PFOA and PFOS, which EPA will release in the fall of 2022.

“People on the front-lines of PFAS contamination have suffered for far too long. That’s why EPA is taking aggressive action as part of a whole-of-government approach to prevent these chemicals from entering the environment and to help protect concerned families from this pervasive challenge,” said EPA Administrator Michael S. Regan. “Thanks to President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, we are also investing $1 billion to reduce PFAS and other emerging contaminants in drinking water.”

“Today’s actions highlight EPA’s commitment to use the best available science to tackle PFAS pollution, protect public health, and provide critical information quickly and transparently,” said EPA Assistant Administrator for Water Radhika Fox. “EPA is also demonstrating its commitment to harmonize policies that strengthen public health protections with infrastructure funding to help communities—especially disadvantaged communities—deliver safe water.”

Assistant Administrator Fox announced these actions at the 3rd National PFAS Conference in Wilmington, North Carolina. 

$1 Billion in Bipartisan Infrastructure Law Funding

As part of a government-wide effort to confront PFAS pollution, EPA is making available $1 billion in grant funding through President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law to help communities that are on the frontlines of PFAS contamination, the first of $5 billion through the Law that can be used to reduce PFAS in drinking water in communities facing disproportionate impacts. These funds can be used in small or disadvantaged communities to address emerging contaminants like PFAS in drinking water through actions such as technical assistance, water quality testing, contractor training, and installation of centralized treatment technologies and systems.

EPA will be reaching out to states and territories with information on how to submit their letter of intent to participate in this new grant program. EPA will also consult with Tribes and Alaskan Native Villages regarding the Tribal set-aside for this grant program. This funding complements $3.4 billion in funding that is going through the Drinking Water State Revolving Funds (SRFs) and $3.2 billion through the Clean Water SRFs that can also be used to address PFAS in water this year.

Lifetime Drinking Water Health Advisories for Four PFAS

The agency is releasing PFAS health advisories in light of newly available science and in accordance with EPA’s responsibility to protect public health. These advisories indicate the level of drinking water contamination below which adverse health effects are not expected to occur. Health advisories provide technical information that federal, state, and local officials can use to inform the development of monitoring plans, investments in treatment solutions, and future policies to protect the public from PFAS exposure.

EPA’s lifetime health advisories identify levels to protect all people, including sensitive populations and life stages, from adverse health effects resulting from a lifetime of exposure to these PFAS in drinking water. EPA’s lifetime health advisories also take into account other potential sources of exposure to these PFAS beyond drinking water (for example, food, air, consumer products, etc.), which provides an additional layer of protection.   

EPA is issuing interim, updated drinking water health advisories for perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) and perfluorooctane sulfonic acid (PFOS) that replace those EPA issued in 2016. The updated advisory levels, which are based on new science and consider lifetime exposure, indicate that some negative health effects may occur with concentrations of PFOA or PFOS in water that are near zero and below EPA’s ability to detect at this time. The lower the level of PFOA and PFOS, the lower the risk to public health. EPA recommends states, Tribes, territories, and drinking water utilities that detect PFOA and PFOS take steps to reduce exposure. Most uses of PFOA and PFOS were voluntarily phased out by U.S. manufacturers, although there are a limited number of ongoing uses, and these chemicals remain in the environment due to their lack of degradation.

For the first time, EPA is issuing final health advisories for perfluorobutane sulfonic acid and its potassium salt (PFBS) and for hexafluoropropylene oxide (HFPO) dimer acid and its ammonium salt (“GenX” chemicals). In chemical and product manufacturing, GenX chemicals are considered a replacement for PFOA, and PFBS is considered a replacement for PFOSThe GenX chemicals and PFBS health advisory levels are well above the level of detection, based on risk analyses in recent scientific studies. 

The agency’s new health advisories provide technical information that federal, state, and local agencies can use to inform actions to address PFAS in drinking water, including water quality monitoring, optimization of existing technologies that reduce PFAS, and strategies to reduce exposure to these substances. EPA encourages states, Tribes, territories, drinking water utilities, and community leaders that find PFAS in their drinking water to take steps to inform residents, undertake additional monitoring to assess the level, scope, and source of contamination, and examine steps to reduce exposure. Individuals concerned about levels of PFAS found in their drinking water should consider actions that may reduce exposure, including installing a home or point of use filter.

Next Steps

EPA is moving forward with proposing a PFAS National Drinking Water Regulation in fall 2022. As EPA develops this proposed rule, the agency is also evaluating additional PFAS beyond PFOA and PFOS and considering actions to address groups of PFAS. The interim health advisories will provide guidance to states, Tribes, and water systems for the period prior to the regulation going into effect. 

The EPA’s work to identify and confront the risks that PFAS pose to human health and the environment is a key component in the Biden-Harris Administration whole-of-government approach to confronting these emerging contaminants. This strategy includes steps by the Food and Drug Administration to increase testing for PFAS in food and packaging, by the U.S. Department of Agriculture to help dairy farmers address contamination of livestock, and by the Department of Defense to clean-up contaminated military installations and the elimination of unnecessary PFAS uses. 


PFAS in Rhode Island 

To best determine if this problem exists throughout Rhode Island, the Rhode Island Department of Health (RIDOH) requested that public water systems test their sources to determine the levels of PFAS in their water in 2019  The Kent County Water Authority was part of the study and the results are as follows:

Total PFOA and PFOS detected at KCWA:

 Mishnock Well 3:          None Detected

 Mishnock Well 4:          13.8 parts per trillion (ppt) 

 Mishnock Well 5:          None Detected

 Spring Lake:                 9.42 parts per trillion (ppt)  Currently offline 2022

 East Greenwich Well:   9.70 parts per trillion (ppt)   Currently offline 2022

What is being done?

There are not currently federal or State regulations for PFAS in drinking water. KCWA continues to work closely with the Rhode Island Department of Health (RIDOH) to limit or prevent PFAS exposure from drinking water.

Because PFAS substances can move through the environment into drinking water sources, the level of PFAS may have changed since the last test. KCWA conducted additional testing to determine the current level of PFAS substances at our Mishnock Ultrafiltration Treatment Facility in February of 2020. The results of those tests showed a decrease in PFAS levels.  

Mishnock Well 3:                          None Detected

Mishnock Well 4:                          10 parts per trillion (ppt) 

Mishnock Well 5:                          None Detected

Mishnock TP Finished Water:      3.5 parts per trillion (ppt) 

KCWA continues to plan to reduce the concentrations of PFAS in drinking water. The East Greenwich Well is currently offline and KCWA is designing a new facility to include the space for additional treatment filters in the event the well water needs to be further treated.  


The Conservation Law Foundation (CLF) and Toxics Action Center (TAC) petitioned the Rhode Island Department of Health (RIDOH) to establish a more aggressive drinking water standard than the EPA health advisory level for Per- and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances (PFAS) that is protective of public health. Specifically, the petitioners requested that RIDOH immediately adopt the Vermont Department of Health’s (Vermont Health’s) Drinking Water Advisory for PFAS (Vermont PFAS Health Advisory) of 20 parts per trillion (ppt) for the sum of PFOA (perfluorooctanoic acid), PFOS (perfluoro-octane sulfonic acid), PFHxS (perfluorohexane sulfonic acid), PFHpA (perfluoroheptanoic acid), and PFNA (perfluorononanoic acid) as a maximum contaminant level (MCL) to protect public health. Legislation was passed in June of 2022 to set the standard in RI to 20 ppt https://legiscan.com/RI/text/S2298/id/2583327/Rhode_Island-2022-S2298-Comm_Sub.pdf KCWA will be conducting additional testing this summer in accordance to the new law. 

What should I do? What does this mean?

·       Based on our understanding at this time and guidance from RIDOH, the risk to individual Rhode Islanders from PFAS in drinking water is low.

·       The best thing for most people to do is stay informed. Visit health.ri.gov/pfas for the latest information about PFAS, including information about treatment options for people who remain concerned.

·       Boiling, freezing, or letting water stand does not reduce PFAS levels.

Bottled water is not required to be tested for PFAS, so we do not have any data to show if this is a better option.



Clinton Avenue Booster Pump Station

Mishnock Ultrafiltration Facility

East Greenwich Well

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Consumer Confidence Report for 2021
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Consumer Confidence Report for 2016
Consumer Confidence Report for 2015
Consumer Confidence Report for 2014
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