Tetrachloroethylene (PCE) in Minnesota community water systems

Total Tetrachloroethylene (PCEs) in Minnesota community water systems:

What is PCE and where is it found?

Tetrachloroethylene (PCE) is a solvent used in industrial processes, metal cleaning, dry-cleaning, and textile processing. Spills and improper disposal of PCE have resulted in contamination of groundwater at several locations in Minnesota. Under certain conditions, PCE can stay in groundwater for long periods of time.

You may breathe in small amounts of PCE in the air if you bring freshly dry-cleaned fabrics into your home. You may also be exposed by using water repellents, silicone lubricants, fabric finishers, spot removers, adhesives, or wood cleaners that contain PCE.

Standards and guidance for PCE in Minnesota water systems

The maximum contaminant level (MCL) for PCE is 5 micrograms per liter of drinking water (µg/L). Maximum Contaminant Levels (MCLs) are set by the United States Environmental Protection Agency (US EPA) and enforced by MDH. All public water systems in Minnesota must meet these standards. Drinking water with PCE at levels lower than the MCL may increase the risk of adverse health effects for some people. As a result, the set health-based guidance (HBV) 4 µg/L for PCE in drinking water. This guidance does not consider the feasibility or cost of water treatment to reach that level of PCE in drinking water.

 


Mean PCE levels of Minnesota community water systems

 
The MCL is 5 µg/L. Concentrations are the mean annual levels for community water systems in Minnesota.
 
The MCL is 5 µg/L. Concentrations are the mean annual levels for community water systems in Minnesota.

The chart above shows the percent of community water systems by PCE mean annual concentration. In Minnesota, there are no systems with PCE at levels of concern.

Maximum PCE levels of Minnesota Community Water Systems

 
The MCL is 5 µg/L. Concentrations are the maximum annual levels for community water systems in Minnesota.
 
The MCL is 5 µg/L. Concentrations are the maximum annual levels for community water systems in Minnesota.

The chart above shows the percent of systems by annual maximum concentration category. A system may have a number of different locations in the distribution system with different levels of PCE. In this chart, the maximum value reflects the sample with the highest concentration at a single location. The level of PCE in the water that ultimately reaches a consumer's tap might be different.


All community water systems provide drinking water with PCE below levels of concern

All Community Water Systems (CWS) test for PCE and other contaminants. If a system's PCE levels are above the MCL, the CWS notifies customers and makes changes to reduce the level. No PCE levels above the health-based guidance have been detected in any community water system.

Population served by community water system mean PCE concentration, 2017

PCE Systems Population served Percent
0 - 1 896 4,257,432 100.00%
1+ - 2 0 0 0.00%
2+ - 5 0 0 0.00%
5+ 0 0 0.00%

 

How do you find out about PCEs in your water?

Customers of community water systems can find out the DBP levels, if any, in their drinking water by reading the Consumer Confidence Report (sometimes called the Water Quality Report) issued each year by their water utility.

 

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Last updated January 2019. Updates are made when data become available; not all data are available annually.