Learn More About PFAS

It takes a village to keep our water clean and safe. Metro Water Recovery is dedicated to being a part of the solution, but we need your help.

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What are PFAS?

Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances or PFAS is a term that describes a family of thousands of human-made chemical compounds found in numerous products used in everyday life. PFAS are used in products because they provide heat, water, and oil resistant properties.  
Widespread use of PFAS to produce common everyday products has resulted in human and animal exposure. PFAS are found in water, air, and soil. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention cites research that suggests high levels of certain PFAS may have negative health impacts.

The Challenge

PFAS are not a by-product of wastewater treatment but are present in the wastewater that enters facilities from homes and businesses.  
PFAS enters wastewater when people wash, rinse or clean products containing the chemicals. The water then enters the sewer system.
Technologies to remove PFAS from wastewater exist but do not destroy the chemicals. The PFAS must still be disposed of once they are moved to another waste stream.
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How can you help?

Avoid or minimize the use of products that contain PFAS. Often these are products that are non-stick or stain resistant. Products that frequently contain PFAS include:
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Carpets and Rugs 
050 Make Up
Cosmetics
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Ski Wax
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Cooking Pans
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Paper Food Packaging
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Infant Car Seats
#Label
055 Waterproof Fabric
Water Repellent Fabrics
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Doing Our Part

Education
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Metro Water Recovery is developing an education campaign to help consumers make informed choices about products containing PFAS.

Advocacy
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As an industry leader and committed stewards of the environment, Metro Water Recovery advocates for local, regional, and national regulations that control PFAS at the source. 

Monitoring
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Metro Water Recovery monitors and tests treated wastewater for PFAS levels established by the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE).


 

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Total PFAS Effluent Monitoring Results

We will update the table as results are finalized. For context, one part per trillion is equivalent to a single drop of water in 20 Olympic-sized pools. Metro is meeting all permit requirements.

Click the links for each month to find more detailed sampling data.

Frequently Asked Questions

Click on a question to see the answer.

How does PFAS enter wastewater?

PFAS are not byproducts of wastewater treatment but are present in the wastewater that leaves homes and businesses. PFAS enters wastewater when people wash, rinse or clean products containing the chemicals. The water then enters the sewer system.

Why are PFAS a problem?

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) cites research that suggests high levels of certain PFAS may have negative health impacts. Learn more about the health impacts of PFAS on CDC’s website.

Can PFAS be removed from wastewater?

Treatment technologies to remove PFAS from wastewater effluent exist, but they do not destroy PFAS molecules. The treatment moves the PFAS molecules into a different waste stream that still needs to be disposed of or treated further.  

While Metro is asking the public to help reduce PFAS at the source before it enters the sanitary sewer, the responsibility to remove these substances from the water cycle should be placed on the producers and manufacturers that incorporate PFAS into their products.

What can I do to reduce PFAS in wastewater?

Do your part to protect our rivers and lakes by making informed choices about products you use at home and in the workplace. See the How You Can Help section above for more information.

What is Metro Water Recovery doing to reduce PFAS in wastewater?

Publicly owned clean water utilities like Metro Water Recovery are passive receivers of PFAS chemicals. Metro does not produce, use, or manufacture PFAS but receives these chemicals through the wastewater that arrives at our treatment plants from homes and businesses.

Metro is educating the public and helping businesses and consumers make informed decisions, encouraging state leaders to act on PFAS legislation, and monitoring wastewater to help identify short and long-term solutions.  

We will continue to work with industry partners to contribute to the scientific research of PFAS in wastewater and biosolids.

What about PFAS and biosolids?

Biosolids are a form of fertilizer that have been produced through the traditional wastewater treatment process for decades. Metro’s preliminary sampling results indicate that there are low levels of PFAS in biosolids. Metro will continue to work with our METROGRO Farmers regarding the application of biosolids.