The South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) has announced an update on its project to measure man-made chemicals in private wells. These chemicals, known as PFAS, are commonly found in everyday items like non-stick cookware, food packaging, cosmetics and dental floss. However, consuming too much PFAS from drinking water can lead to health risks such as high cholesterol and an increased chance of cancer.
The state legislature provided $10 million for PFAS-related projects and data collection. DHEC’s PFAS Private Well Sampling Project sampled over 353 private wells in the state, with over 50% testing negative for PFAS. However, PFAS contamination is more common in the middle part of the state and groundwater has less PFAS than surface water. The sources of the contamination are not obvious and DHEC is working to identify them.
PFAS cannot be detected by taste or smell, so the only way to know for sure if they are present in water is through sampling. South Carolinians can request a private well test through DHEC’s website. A total of 271 requests were submitted and 249 were completed. In response to the findings, DHEC is proposing an investment in a National Sanitation Foundation-approved carbon filtration system to reduce PFAS in water.