How to test your water for PFAS. For more information contact us using the form on this page.

Source: 20190212 RLT to File re Testing Your Water 2.0.docx - Kent County, Michigan


About PFAS – Why They are a Problem

Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) are a family of chemicals used in certain types of firefighting foam—historically used by the U.S. military, local fire departments, and airports—which may contain PFAS.

PFAS have become a serious public health concern across our country and state. Over time, some PFAS released from firefighting foam (and other products) seep into surface soils. From there, PFAS leaches into groundwater and can contaminate drinking water. PFAS have also been found in rivers, lakes, fish, and wildlife.

PFAS stay in the environment for a long time and do not break down easily. As a result, PFAS are widely detected in air, soil, water, and food.  Exposure can occur when someone uses certain products that contain PFAS, eats PFAS-contaminated food, or drinks PFAS-contaminated water. When ingested, some PFAS can build up in the body and, over time, these PFAS may increase to a level where health effects could occur.

PFAS in Drinking Water

Are there drinking water standards for PFAS?

In August 2018, the U.S. Center for Disease Control’s Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry) established minimum appreciable health risk levels for Perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) and perfluorooctyl sulfonate (PFOS).  The limits are set out on a body-weight basis (mg/kg/day), intended to serve as estimates of daily human exposure unlikely to cause an appreciable risk of adverse non-cancer health effects.  Researches report that using the Environmental Protection  Agency’s methodology for translating these figures into drinking water advisory values results in the following levels:

  • PFOS: approximately 7 parts per trillion (ppt)

  • PFOA and PFNA: approximately 11 ppt

PFOA and PFOS which are part of the PFAS family, are most commonly detected in drinking water.

If I boil my water, will it get rid of PFAS?

No, you cannot boil PFAS out of water.

How can I tell if my drinking water contains PFAS?

PFAS are odorless and tasteless. Water testing is the only way to know for sure if PFAS are present. Your drinking water may be at risk if your source (where your water comes from) is near a:

  • Known PFAS-contaminated site or drinking water source.

  • Fire training facility, military area, or airport that used PFAS-based firefighting foam.

 How do I test my water for PFAS?

Generally, the U.S. Defense Department and Navy will not supply long-term safe water to homes near current and former military bases contaminated by PFAS unless the well tests above 70-ppt.  However, the Navy is working directly with Whidbey Island residents, community leaders and other federal, state and local agencies on this important national issue.  From November 2016 to June 2017, the Navy conducted drinking water sampling near Ault Field and OLF Coupeville.  There were three sampling areas identified near Ault Field and two sampling areas near OLF Coupeville.  People in the sampling areas were notified by letter and can arrange sampling – if they haven’t already done so – by calling 360-396-1030.  We encourage residents in the sampling areas to have their wells sampled.

If you have any questions for the Navy, we recommend you contact one of the Public Affairs Officers listed below.



Mike Welding

     Leslie Yuenger

Public Affairs Officer

     Public Affairs Officer

Naval Air Station Whidbey Island

     Naval Facilities Engineering                                       Command Northwest



Office: 360-257-2962

     Office: 360-396-6387

Cell: 360-914-7915

     Cell: 360-340-5592

If you are part of the Coupeville public water system, you can find the water test results performed to date here.  You can also contact your water system about PFAS testing by calling the Utility Clerk at (360) 678-4461 ext. 6, or sending an email to

If you are on a community water well system or have a private well and you wish to have your water privately tested, we recommend you visit the Washington State Department of Ecology’s Lab Search page to find a list of certified labs that can test for PFAS.  Click on the Analyte: drop down menu and scroll down until you come to the list of PFASs starting with the analyte Perfluorobutane sulfonate.  Then, click the button just to the right labelled “Select by Analyte” to find a lab for the PFAS you wish to test for.  In addition to PFOA and PFOS, we recommend your request testing for the following 14 different PFAS:

  • Perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA)

  • Perfluorooctane sulfonic acid (PFOS)

  • Perfluorobutane sulfonic acid (PFBS)

  • Perfluorodecanoic acid (PFDA)

  • Perfluorododecanoic acid (PFDoA)

  • Perfluoroheptanoic acid, (PFHpA)

  • Perfluorohexanoic acid (PFHxA)

  • Perfluorohexane sulfonic acid (PFHxS)

  • Perfluoronanoic acid (PFNA)

  • Perfluorotetradecanoic acid (PFTeDA)

  • Perfluorotridecanoic acid (PFTrDA)

  • Perfluoroundecanoic acid (PFUnD)

  • N-ethyl perfluorooctanesulfonamidoacetic acid (N-EtFOSSA),

  • N-methyl perfluorooctanesulfonamidoacetic acid (N-MeFOSSA),

In addition, it’s important to ask the lab to use the lowest possible detection level (some laboratories have minimum detection level of under one (1) ppt) using testing method 357 and issue you a full sample report. We recommend using one of the Navy approved labs such as Vista Analytical Laboratory, Inc., ALS Environmental, or TestAmerica.[1]

Health Concerns

If you are concerned or have symptoms of possible PFAS exposure, contact your healthcare provider. Health researchers are still uncertain about the potential for health effects in people with PFAS in their drinking water. Although more research is necessary, some studies in people have shown that certain PFAS may increase the risk of, without limitation:

  • Lower birth weight in babies.

  • Problems in pregnancy (preeclampsia, high blood pressure in mother).

  • Early menopause.

  • Altered levels of thyroid and sex hormones.

  • Higher cholesterol levels.

  • Increased levels of uric acid in the blood.

  • Immune system changes (ulcerative colitis, reduced antibody production).

  • Certain cancers, including bladder cancer, kidney cancer, testicular cancer, pancreatic cancer, prostate cancer, leukemia, lymphoma, and neuroendocrine tumors.

[1] We do not recommend using Anatek Labs, Inc. as we have heard reports of issues regarding their test results.