PFAS in West Plains private wells

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Sign up for no-cost drinking water sampling

The sampling area now extends south of I90 between highway 195 and Thorpe road.

To ensure people are drinking safe water, Ecology and the EPA are offering a second, final round of no-cost private well sampling in the eligible sampling area for wells we did not sample in March 2024. We've expanded the eligible area southeast of Interstate 90 and north of Thorpe Road.

We will fill requests until we receive 125 eligible requests or until June 18, whichever comes first.

Request sampling.

We are working with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Washington Department of Health, Spokane Regional Health District, Eastern Washington University, and the West Plains Water Coalition on per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) contamination in groundwater in the northeast West Plains near Spokane. 

In March 2024, the EPA sampled 307 private wells in the priority sampling area, and 172 wells, or 56%, had PFAS above safe drinking water standards. We are providing bottled water to these homes upon request.

We invite you to share your results with us, even if PFAS wasn't detected in your water. The results will help us better understand where PFAS came from and where it is going in the West Plains. The EPA will not share your drinking water results with us to protect your personally identifiable information (your name, address, and phone number) under the Privacy Act.

Sampling requests accepted for a limited time

Ecology and EPA are offering a second, final round of sampling after hearing from people in the eligible sampling area who did not get sampled. We will fill requests until we receive 125 eligible requests or until June 18, whichever comes first. Sampling is scheduled to begin June 11, 2024.

Who is eligible?

We encourage you to sign up for no-cost PFAS drinking water sampling if:

  1. Your drinking water is from a private well,
  2. You live in the eligible sampling area, AND
  3. Your well was not sampled in March 2024. 

How to sign up

Complete and submit the Sampling Request Form. The form asks a few simple questions that will allow us to contact you and schedule the no-cost sampling.

What is the process?

The EPA will be scheduling appointments and collecting samples. After you complete and submit the Sampling Request Form, our sampling coordinator will contact you by phone and/or email to:

  • Determine where to collect the drinking water. Our sampling team will take a sample from a drinking water source in the home, such as a kitchen faucet. If you have a treatment system, we will collect a sample of untreated water.

  • Sign a form allowing us to take a sample. The primary resident living at the home will need to sign an access form when our sampling team arrives to collect your drinking water sample. 

  • Collect the drinking water sample. Our sampling team will collect a sample at an agreed-upon date and time. Sample collection should take less than an hour. 

  • Analyze the drinking water sample. An accredited laboratory will analyze your drinking water sample for PFAS, using a strict quality control process to ensure accurate results. The current resident and homeowner will get the results by mail and email (if provided) as soon as possible, usually about one month after sampling.

March results from 307 private wells

Thank you to everyone who participated in the sampling event in March. Ecology and EPA held an in-person meeting on May 21 and an online, recorded meeting on June 6 about the sampling results.

Summary of the March 2024 PFAS sampling results

Sample result type Number of locations Percent of locations
Wells that don't have PFAS 91 30%
Wells with PFAS concentrations below drinking water standards 44 14%
Wells with PFAS concentrations above drinking water standards 172 56%
Total 307 100%

How to interpret your results

How it looks* What it means
0.0 A black box with white text means that samples were ABOVE the drinking water standard. You should use an alternate source for drinking and cooking water or use a filter certified to remove PFAS
0.0 A bolded number means that the PFAS compound was found in the sample, but it is below the drinking water standard (if one has been set).
0.0 U The U next to a number means that is the lowest level the analysis can measure accurately and the test didn't find the PFAS compound (non-detect). 

*Numeric values (0.0) are examples. Cell formatting and "U" are how to interpret your results.

How long do results last?

A sampling event is a snapshot in time. Because contamination and groundwater are constantly moving, we can not know future levels at any location based on one sample.

Ecology is working toward identifying sources so that any parties responsible for contamination can monitor groundwater regularly and provide whole-house water treatment systems as needed. The area-wide groundwater study with the City of Medical Lake will help us understand how groundwater and contamination are moving by taking samples from the same 30 locations four times a year.

Share your results to receive no-cost bottled water and help our investigation

five gallon water bottle

Ecology invites you to share your results with us, even if PFAS wasn’t detected in your water. The results will help us better understand where PFAS came from and where it is going in the West Plains.

Sharing your results is completely voluntary. Data you provide to Ecology may be subject to public records requests and disclosure

How to request bottled water

If your results show PFAS concentrations above safe drinking water standards, Ecology will provide no-cost bottled water to ensure you have safe drinking and cooking water. The bottled water will be delivered once a month.

When you submit your sample results to Ecology, please include the necessary information to set up your bottled water delivery:

  • How many people live in the household
  • Contact person
  • Phone number
  • Delivery address

The Washington Department of Health is working on providing point-of-use filtration (POU) systems to replace bottled water. Bottled water and POU filters can help until investigation and cleanup of PFAS sources provide more permanent solutions, such as whole-house treatment systems paid for by the party responsible for the contamination.

How Ecology chose the sampling area

Initially we selected the sampling area based on our understanding of groundwater flow direction and the sample results people had shared with us prior to the sampling in March 2024. We understand that groundwater flows north to northeast in this area. As a result, the priority sampling area did not focus south of Interstate 90 in the first round of sampling.

After reviewing the March 2024 sampling information, we expanded the sampling area to the southeast to include the area between Interstate 90, Highway 195, and Thorpe Road.