Statewide Testing of PFAS indicates no PFAS Health Concerns in Kentucky’s Public Drinking Water

FRANKFORT, Ky. (Nov. 20, 2019) – The Kentucky Department for Environmental Protection (DEP) has conducted a statewide study for the presence of Per- and poly-fluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) in the treated potable drinking water from municipal drinking water supplies. Based on the results of this study, and when compared to the federal Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) health advisory of 70 parts per trillion, it has been determined that there are no evident PFAS health concerns in the Commonwealth’s public drinking water supply.

The four-month testing conducted in 2019 of 81 municipal water treatment plants, which cover about 50 percent of the Commonwealth’s population, showed that all of the samples tested were at non-detectable levels or were well below the federal health advisory level.

Each water treatment plant tested was sampled for eight PFAS related substances, which yielded 648 separate analyses. There were 96 detectable levels of PFAS related substances, of which only 17 (three percent) tested above 5 parts per trillion. None were detected above the safe threshold established by USEPA of 70 parts per trillion.

“This proactive step by the Department for Environment Protection provides us with additional assurance that, based on current science, our drinking water has safe levels of these compounds,” said Energy and Environment Cabinet Secretary Charles Snavely. “Our staff went to great lengths to develop the ability to conduct both sampling and analysis of these contaminants and were able to do this because we have one of the few labs certified to do this in the country.”

The EPA has issued lifetime health advisories for two of those PFAS compounds: perfluorooctanoic acid PFOA  at 70 parts per trillion and perfluorooctane sulfonate PFOS at 70 parts per trillion; and a combined PFOA plus PFOS at a combined 70 parts per trillion.

These PFAS compounds have been used since the 1940s for their ability to resist heat, oil, grease, and water. Some of the most common uses have been stain and fire retardants in carpets, non-stick cookware, food bags, some dental floss and aqueous film-forming foam (AFFF) used in firefighting operations. Recently, these substances have been identified as contaminants of emerging concern.

According to the EPA, exposure to PFAS at high enough levels may impact reproductive and developmental health, increase the risk for cancer, disrupt thyroid hormones, and affect the immune system.

The Cabinet will be developing a strategy for continued monitoring, including raw (untreated) water at select stations across the state. Additional testing will also focus on potential upstream sources.

Results of the testing can be found at



Kentucky Oil and Gas Workgroup to Meet December 4

FRANKFORT, Ky. (Nov. 18, 2019) – The Kentucky Oil and Gas Workgroup will meet Wednesday, Dec. 4, 2019, at 10 a.m. in Conference Room 332 at the offices of the Kentucky Energy and Environment Cabinet, 300 Sower Boulevard, Frankfort, KY.

The public is invited to attend.


  • Discussion of Division of Oil and Gas 805 KAR Chapter 1:170 regulation and amendments after comment.
  • Repeal of 401 KAR 5:090 filed November 14, 2019.
  • Characterization of pit fluids and status of proposed regulations for land application under 401 KAR 45:060.
  • Public Comment Period – Comments may be submitted by guests to be considered by the workgroup. Submitted comments shall not be discussed at this time. Comments will be compiled and disseminated to workgroup members for their consideration prior to subsequent meetings.

For more information on the proposed regulation and amendments, go to



Kentucky Drought Declarations Removed

Recent rainfall has eased drought concerns

FRANKFORT, Ky. (Nov. 8, 2019) – The Kentucky Energy and Environment Cabinet and the Office of the State Climatologist, in coordination with the Kentucky Drought Mitigation Team, have removed drought declarations for all 120 counties in the Commonwealth. Recent rains have eliminated precipitation deficits and improved stream flows and soil moisture levels.

Precipitation events since Oct. 3, when the statewide Level 1 and Level 2 drought declarations were issued, have helped ease the moderate to severe drought conditions.

“Following the rapid intensification of drought through September and the first week of October, weather patterns have shifted dramatically,” said Dr. Stuart Foster, state climatologist for Kentucky. “The month of October finished as the third wettest on record, easing concerns about drought as winter approaches.”

Although the drought declarations have been removed, some drought impacts may still persist into the winter, especially regarding a potential lack of winter feed.

“Well above normal precipitation throughout October coupled with the end of the growing season has alleviated most drought concerns in the agricultural sector,” said Matt Dixon with the University of Kentucky Agricultural Weather Center. “However, severely stressed pastures led to limited fall grazing and supplemental feeding of winter hay.”

More information about drought declaration criteria can be found in the Kentucky Drought Mitigation and Response Plan.

To see all current drought declarations in Kentucky, please access the Division of Water’s Drought Viewer at


Harmful Algal Bloom Recreational Public Health Advisory Removed

Test results below advisory levels on the Ohio River

FRANKFORT, Ky. (Nov. 7, 2019) – The Kentucky Division of Water (DOW) and the Kentucky Department for Public Health (DPH) have removed the recreational public health advisory for the Ohio River previously issued due to harmful algal blooms (HABs). Results from recent water samples collected throughout the advisory area from the McAlpine Dam near Louisville to the Greenup Dam near Greenup are below the recreational advisory threshold for microcystin toxins.

The recreational public health advisory was issued Sept. 26 when sample results from the river indicated the presence of toxin-producing algal blooms. Since that time, regular testing has occurred to monitor microcystin levels. Although the advisory is being removed, the DOW and DPH advise there are always risks associated with recreating in natural waters, especially with the incidental ingestion of water, and recommend avoiding contact with waters that have visible algal blooms.

For additional information about harmful algal blooms in Kentucky, please visit the Division of Water’s HAB webpage here.

To see all current HAB advisories in Kentucky, please access the Division of Water’s HAB Viewer at

An advisory remains in effect for Briggs Lake near Russellville.



Kentucky Waste Tire Work Group to Meet November 4

FRANKFORT, Ky. (Oct. 31, 2019) – The Kentucky Waste Tire Work Group will meet on Monday, November 4th, 2019, at 1 p.m. in Training Room C. at the Kentucky Energy and Environment Cabinet building, 300 Sower Boulevard, Frankfort, KY 40601.


1) Updates on Kentucky’s waste tire program

2) Kentucky’s rubber modified asphalt program

3) Presentation on pour-in-place rubber playground surfaces

4) New business



Special Board Meeting: Kentucky Board of Certification of Water Treatment & Distribution System Operators

FRANKFORT, Ky. (Oct. 24, 2019) – The Kentucky Board of Certification of Water Treatment and Distribution System Operators (drinking water board) will meet on Oct. 25 at 10 a.m. EST in conference room 111, Department for Environmental Protection, 300 Sower Blvd., Frankfort, KY 40601. This meeting pertains to the notice of violations issued to two operators at Greensburg Water Works. Portions of this meeting are open to the public.

WHO:          Board of Certification, Water Treatment and Distribution System Operators

WHEN:        Friday, Oct. 25, 2019 at 10 a.m. EDT

WHERE:      Kentucky Energy & Environment Cabinet
Conference Room 111
300 Sower Blvd.
Frankfort, KY 40601

Call to Order
Roll Call
Introduction of Guests
New Business
Hearings for disciplinary action from 10:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.
Adjourn for Lunch at 12:00 p.m.
Hearings for disciplinary action from 1:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m.
Executive Session


Funding Available for Water Pollution Control Projects

FRANKFORT, Ky. (Oct. 18, 2019) – Applications are being accepted to fund nonpoint source pollution control projects, the Kentucky Energy and Environment Cabinet announced.

Projects that help clean up polluted streams, rivers, lakes, and groundwater and for projects that protect water resources are eligible for funding through Section 319(h) of the Clean Water Act, according to Dale Booth, manager of the Division of Water’s nonpoint source grant program.

“Funds can be used for watershed restoration projects, watershed plan development, and other projects that reduce and prevent runoff pollution,” Booth said. “These funds can be used to pay for up to 60-percent of the cost of each project, with a required 40-percent non-federal match.”

Nonpoint source pollution, also known as runoff pollution, is the primary contributor to water pollution in Kentucky. The Division will give priority to projects involving watershed plan development and implementation for impaired waters, source water protection areas, and the protection of special-use waters (e.g., cold water aquatic habitat, exceptional waters, state wild rivers and federal wild and scenic rivers) with identified threats.

To find stream designations in your area, please visit the Cabinet’s water health portal.

Applications must be submitted no later than December 3, 2019.  Nonpoint source program staff will review the project proposals and rank them according to eligibility and priority criteria. To determine if your organization is eligible and to obtain the project proposal form and other supporting documents, please visit the grant program page.

For more information, contact Dale Booth at 502-782-6895 or