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Environment / Public Safety & Health

East Moline Hires Firm to Reduce PFAS in Drinking Water

Environmental Protection Agency

An engineering firm will help the Quad Cities reduce "forever chemicals" in its water supply.

They're called PFAS, and used in thousands of products from firefighting foam to makeup, contacts, and candy wrappers. They don't break down, and can build up in people, animals, and the environment.

Brianna Huber is the director of water filtration for East Moline. She says the EPA proposed a maximum level of four parts per trillion for certain chemicals.

"East Moline, when we have done water quality testing, to test for those particular types of PFAS, we are bordering the maximum contaminant level."

"There's no safe level, like ideally, we could remove it all, but in order to do that, some more technology needs to advance," she said. "Right now, the technology that's out there can only detect and treat to a level of two (parts per trillion)."

Huber says this is an ongoing issue.

"It's not that PFAS is rising, it's that more is understood about PFAS, and where it comes from, who's contaminating the water, or the soil, which is making it into the water systems, how do we treat it, what are the health impacts that it has."

East Moline, Moline, and Rock Island hired the firm, CDM Smith, to evaluate ways to treat the "forever chemicals" in Mississippi River drinking water.

The East Moline city council will consider the firm's proposal at this week's city council meeting, and again at the next meeting.

Environment drinking water
Rachel graduated from Michigan State University's J-School and has a background in broadcast and environmental journalism. Before WVIK, she worked for WKAR Public Media, Great Lakes Now, and more. In her free time, she likes to cook, hike, and hang out with her cat.