An official website of the United States government.

We've made some changes to EPA.gov. If the information you are looking for is not here, you may be able to find it on the EPA Web Archive or the January 19, 2017 Web Snapshot.

PFOA, PFOS and Other PFASs

Treating PFAS in Drinking Water

EPA has found ways to remove PFAS from drinking water. These effective technologies include activated carbon treatment, ion exchange resins, and high pressure membranes, like nanofiltration or reverse osmosis.

  • Granular Activated Carbon (GAC) – Chemicals like PFAS stick to the small pieces of carbon as the water passes through.
  • Powdered Activated Carbon (PAC) – The carbon is powdered and is added to the water. The chemicals then stick to the powdered carbon as the water passes through.
  • Ion Exchange Resins –Small beads (called resins) are made of hydrocarbons that work like magnets. The chemicals stick to the beads and are removed as the water passes through. 
  • Nanofiltration and reverse osmosis –A process where water is pushed through a membrane with small pores. The membrane acts like a wall that can stop chemicals and particles from passing into drinking water.

There are things to consider with each of these technologies, including costs and operational feasibility, that would need to be weighed by the needs of the community. These technologies can be used in drinking water treatment facilities, in water systems in hospitals, or individual buildings or even in homes. Find out more using EPA's Treatability Database.