HENRICO COUNTY, Va (WRIC) — The Henrico County Department of Public Works has finished testing the wells of 259 private residences in the White Oak Swamp area and found that 12% contained some amount of perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoalkyl substances, or PFAS, according to a release from the department.

PFAs are byproducts of certain consumer goods that can be found in water, soil or air and may cause reproduction and development issues as well as some forms of cancer.

Henrico Public Works announced they would be conducting testing on wells for free in December after it was found that the Chickahominy River and Watershed contained “elevated levels” of PFAs. The original plan was to test 120 wells but that amount was increased to 259.

Of the 259 samples tested:

  • 229 had no detectable levels of PFAs
  • 28 contained what the EPA considers low levels ranging from 3 to 34 parts per million
  • 2 exceeded the EPA’s standard

The EPA considers contamination of over 70 parts per million enough of a risk to notify local governments. One well contained 82 and one contained 128.

According to Henrico Department of Public Works Director Bentley Chan, state and federal agencies are working to determine the source of the contamination and determine if regulatory action is needed.

“As a county, we recognize the recent well testing answers some – but not all – of the questions we face in the White Oak area,” said Chan. “We are committed to working closely and openly with our residents, engaging with the appropriate federal and state agencies and doing everything in our power to safeguard the health and well-being of our community and the environment.”