September 8, 2016 — By Evan Bevins

Though the C8 content in the Parkersburg Utility Board’s treated water remains below the lifetime health advisory announced this year, a high reading in a monitoring well is prompting additional testing.

PUB Manager Eric Bennett presented the results of tests conducted in July and August at Wednesday’s regular board meeting.

The numbers were not dramatically different from samples taken in September 2015. After treatment, C8 was detected at a level of 0.029 parts per billion, compared to 0.031 in 2015.

That’s below the 0.07 parts per billion lifetime health advisory issued by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in May. That prompted a do-not-drink advisory for Vienna water until a carbon filtration system paid for by DuPont spinoff Chemours was installed.

The highest reading detected was a 0.16 ppb concentration in a monitoring well. Though water is not drawn from that well, it could indicate a potential rise in C8 levels in the main wells, Bennett said.

“That’s supposed to be approximately one year travel time,” he said.

C8, also known as perfluorooctanoic acid or PFOA, was used for years in the Teflon-manufacturing process at the Washington Works plant owned by DuPont before Chemours was spun off last year. Its presence in area water supplies led to a class-action lawsuit, the settlement of which created a Science Panel whose research linked exposure to the chemical to kidney and testicular cancer, ulcerative colitis, thyroid disease, pregnancy-induced hypertension and hypercholesterolemia.

Individual lawsuits seeking damages for illnesses allegedly caused by C8 exposure are now working their way through the courts.

Testing on July 26 showed a C8 concentration of just 0.096 ppb in treated PUB water, but that was without well No. 1 in use. A second test was conducted on Aug. 1, with 40 percent of the volume supplied by well 1, resulting in the 0.029 ppb reading.

Well 1 is the only one of the city’s five wells to exceed the 0.07 ppb threshold. It registered 0.076 ppb in this year’s tests, slightly higher than 2015’s 0.072 but below the 2014 reading of 0.083.

Prior to this year, the EPA’s health advisory for C8 concentration was 0.4 ppb.