RIVM and KWR have produced a report in response to the presence of GenX in drinking water and drinking water sources in parts of the Netherlands. KWR researcher Pim de Voogt collected all the data from the water companies for the report. The research confirms that drinking water is safe everywhere in the Netherlands. GenX concentrations are far below the RIVM guideline value. The Ministry of Infrastructure and the Environment has sent the report to the Dutch Lower House.
The RIVM-KWR report – Risk assessment and presence of FRD-903 in drinking water and drinking water sources for a selection of drinking water production locations in the Netherlands – shows the presence of very low concentrations of GenX in the drinking water of the Oasen, Dunea and Evides water companies. The companies had already made this known earlier this year. The concentrations measured were generally 5 to 15 times lower than the public-health guideline value set by RIVM for drinking water. This guideline value is 150 nanograms per litre (one nanogram is one thousand-millionth of a gram). No GenX-related compound was found in the drinking water of the seven other drinking water companies.
Possibly other sources of contamination
The RIVM-KWR report also examines the origin of the GenX. Higher GenX values were observed in the Meuse, upstream from the Dunea and Evides intake points. These values do not seem to be explained by a discharge in the Beneden-Merwede area. There is possibly a second contamination source, or maybe more. Rijkswaterstaat and the Aa and Maas Water Board are currently researching another possible source of GenX. The presence of GenX in surface water in North Brabant has no impact on the drinking water in the region since it uses deep groundwater as the source for its drinking water.
In 2012, the DuPont/Chemours chemical plant converted its production to GenX technology and phased out PFOA because of associated hazard concerns. The change involves the discharge by the plant of the FRD-903 compound into the water. Since 2013, the plant has had a license to discharge into Dordrecht’s wastewater treatment system; in April 2017, the permitted discharge volume was reduced. The measurement results now analysed confirm that this chemical plant is by far the most important source of the FRD-903 present. The RIVM-KWR study shows that the presence of GenX is not widespread in drinking water in the Netherlands.