Concentrations of Per- and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances (PFAS) in Selected Rivers and Streams in Massachusetts, 2020

Data Report 1160
Prepared in cooperation with the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection
By:  and 



Water samples collected from 27 rivers and streams in Massachusetts were analyzed to characterize the presence and concentrations of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (collectively known as PFAS) in surface waters across the Commonwealth. Sampling sites were selected in urban rivers where PFAS were expected to be present, such as those that receive treated municipal wastewater, and in rural rivers that were not known to be affected by municipal wastewater. The samples were collected three times in 2020 from 64 sites, and were analyzed for 24 PFAS, 18 of which are included in the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Method 537.1.

Samples were collected when the instantaneous flow of the rivers and streams were at base-flow condition to minimize PFAS input or dilution from stormwater runoff and overland flow. The analyses detected PFAS in samples from all 27 rivers and streams. The number of PFAS detected in each sample ranged from 2 to 16. Concentrations of individual PFAS ranged from no detectable concentrations (less than 1.74 nanograms per liter) to 109 nanograms per liter. Samples from sites associated with wastewater treatment facilities in urban areas had a larger number and variety of PFAS present, and at higher concentrations, than in samples from the more rural rivers. This report includes a summary of the chemical data and physical properties of both environmental and quality-control samples, and a description of procedures for the collection and processing of the samples.

Suggested Citation

Savoie, J.G., and Argue, D.M., 2022, Concentrations of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) in selected rivers and streams in Massachusetts, 2020 (ver. 2.0, October 2023): U.S. Geological Survey Data Report 1160, 18 p.,

ISSN: 2771-9448 (online)

Study Area

Table of Contents

  • Acknowledgments
  • Abstract
  • Introduction
  • Study Design
  • Results of Analyses of Environmental and Quality-Control Samples
  • Summary
  • References Cited
  • Appendix 1. Alpha Analytical, Inc. Sample Processing Information and Data Qualifiers With Corresponding U.S. Geological Survey Remark and Value Qualifier Codes
Publication type Report
Publication Subtype USGS Numbered Series
Title Concentrations of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) in selected rivers and streams in Massachusetts, 2020
Series title Data Report
Series number 1160
DOI 10.3133/dr1160
Edition Version 1.0: July 20, 2022; Version 1.1: February 17, 2023; Version 2.0: October 2, 2023
Year Published 2022
Language English
Publisher U.S. Geological Survey
Publisher location Reston, VA
Contributing office(s) New England Water Science Center
Description Report: vi, 18 p.; Data Release
Country United States
State Massachusetts
Online Only (Y/N) Y
Additional Online Files (Y/N) N
Google Analytic Metrics Metrics page
Additional publication details