Blog for Real Estate Agents

PFAS for Real Estate Agents: What You Need to Know

Jun 8, 2022

Have you ever had a client of yours ask, “Does this town have PFAS?” If it hasn’t happened to you yet, it will. PFAS are found in many towns, in both the public water supply and private wells. They can pose serious health hazards, but there are solutions available to buyers and sellers that will avoid delaying or derailing a sale. The key is to understand what you are dealing with.

What Are PFAS?

PFAS (perfluoroalkyl substances) are a group of man-made chemicals that have been manufactured since the 1940s. They can be found in household goods, fire-fighting foam, personal care products, and more. They enter the water and soil through landfills, industrial facilities using PFAS, and runoff from fertilizer containing PFAS. Decades after their first use, scientists found that PFAS will never decay in water or soil, and they are also resistant to heat, water, and oil. This led to them being known as “forever chemicals.”

Exposure to PFAS does not cause immediate harm, but because these chemicals do not degrade or go away, they can accumulate in your body. These substances have been connected to numerous health issues, including cancers, liver and kidney damage, low birth weight, thyroid disease, inflammation, and infertility.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has established benchmarks for PFAS levels, however we believe that any water containing PFAS should be treated to avoid any further accumulation in the body.

How PFAS Can Impact Real Estate Transfers

Young and first-time homebuyers are concerned about things like indoor air quality, lead paint, soil quality, and contaminants — especially PFAS — in the water supply. Finding out that PFAS are present in the water could impact the sale if you are not prepared.

Testing for PFAS does not have to delay or derail a sale. The most important thing for real estate agents is to test as early as possible in the listing or sale process, so you can connect your seller or buyer with solutions that meet their needs. Educating your buyer and seller on the current state of the water and the possible methods of remediation makes all the difference.

There Are Solutions

The two primary treatment options for water supplies containing PFAS, are point-of-entry (POE) systems and point-of-use (POU) systems. POE systems are sometimes called whole-house systems, because they are installed where water enters the home and they filter all of the water that is distributed throughout the house. These systems are typically installed in the basement or a utility room. Your buyers will have peace of mind knowing that everything coming out of the taps is clean.

POU systems are typically installed in the kitchen, where the most water is consumed, and the filtered water is dispensed through a dedicated faucet. Reverse osmosis and carbon block systems are the two most common types. They are compact and easy to install. The primary difference between the two POU options is how often the filters need to be changed.

POE and POU System Costs

Depending on the type of system that your buyer or seller chooses, the installation costs can vary from $750 – $3,000. Carbon block POU systems are the most affordable ($750) and POE systems are the biggest investment ($1,500 – $3,000).

Annual maintenance costs for POE systems are $200, while POU systems are approximately $100. During the sale, you can negotiate with the buyer or seller about installation costs so that everything is taken care of ahead of time.

Resources for Free or Subsidized Testing and Treatment

Massachusetts residents have multiple options available to them. Three of the best resources currently available are:

We’re Here for You.

SafeWell simplifies the process, saving you time and making your closings easier.

  • We advise real estate agents on all drinking water issues.
  • We understand board of health requirements.
  • We know which towns request well water quality testing.
  • We provide comprehensive water quality testing and treatment services.

Call or email SafeWell for all your water quality testing and treatment needs.

888-450-9355
support@safewell.us