Skip to main content
U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government

Concentrations of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) in selected rivers and streams in Massachusetts, 2020

July 20, 2022

Water samples collected from 27 rivers and streams in Massachusetts were analyzed to characterize the presence and concentrations of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (collectively known as PFAS) in surface waters across the Commonwealth. Sampling sites were selected in urban rivers where PFAS were expected to be present, such as those that receive treated municipal wastewater, and in rural rivers that were not known to be affected by municipal wastewater. The samples were collected three times in 2020 from 64 sites, and were analyzed for 24 PFAS, 18 of which are included in the United States Environmental Protection Agency’s Method 537.1.

Samples were collected when the instantaneous flow of the rivers and streams was at base-flow condition to minimize PFAS input or dilution from stormwater runoff and overland flow. The analyses detected PFAS in samples from all 27 rivers and streams. The number of PFAS detected in each sample ranged from 2 to 16. Concentrations of individual PFAS ranged from no detectable concentrations (less than 1.74 nanograms per liter) to 109 nanograms per liter. Samples from sites associated with wastewater treatment facilities in urban areas had a larger number and variety of PFAS present, and at higher concentrations, than in samples from the more rural rivers. This report includes a summary of the chemical data and physical properties of both environmental and quality-control samples, and a description of procedures for the collection and processing of the samples.

Citation Information

Publication Year 2022
Title Concentrations of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) in selected rivers and streams in Massachusetts, 2020
DOI 10.3133/dr1160
Authors Jennifer G. Savoie, Denise M. Argue
Publication Type Report
Publication Subtype USGS Numbered Series
Series Title Data Report
Series Number 1160
Index ID dr1160
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization New England Water Science Center

Related Content