Skip to main content

PFAS Sampling in the Fish Contaminant Monitoring Program

Fish Contaminant Monitoring Program Overview

Contaminants in Illinois sport fish are monitored by the Fish Contaminant Monitoring Program (FCMP), which is a cooperative effort between the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency (IEPA) and the Departments of Agriculture, Natural Resources (IDNR), and Public Health (IDPH).

The FCMP collects approximately 250 fish samples from 40-50 stream, river, and inland lake stations, and from several Lake Michigan open water/harbor stations each year. These samples are sent to the IEPA Division of Laboratories to be analyzed for Per- and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances (PFAS), Polychlorinated Biphenyls (PCBs), and Methylmercury. The FCMP screens analytical results against Food and Drug Administration (FDA) action levels and adopted Health Protection Values (HPVs) found on IEPA Bureau of Water's Fish Contaminant webpage. Comparison of the sample results to these HPVs determines the need for issuing, modifying, or rescinding a fish consumption advisory. IDPH is responsible for issuing fish consumption advisories, which can be found on their fish advisory home page or by viewing their interactive fish advisory map.  

Great Lakes Restoration Initiative (GLRI) Project

In 2021, the U.S. EPA GLRI awarded IEPA grant funding for the purchase of laboratory equipment capable of analyzing PFAS in fish tissue. As part of the grant funding agreement, IDNR collected fish samples from the Lake Michigan open waters and basin during the 2022 and 2023 sampling seasons. These samples are being analyzed for PFAS by IEPA's Division of Laboratories. Initial results were compared to the Great Lakes Consortium for Fish Consumption Advisories’ “Best Practice for Perfluorooctane Sulfonate (PFOS) Guidelines.” Resulting advisories can be found on IDPH's interactive fish advisory map

Statewide Monitoring for PFAS

In 2023, the FCMP began analyzing all fish tissue samples for 25 PFAS listed in U.S. EPA’s Method 1633. Results have indicated the need to issue advisories for some waterbodies and continue with long term statewide monitoring. Our current PFAS fish consumption advisories are due to elevated levels of perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS) and perfluoroundecanoic acid (PFUnA) found in the edible portions of sportfish.

Franklin Creek

A recent sampling event in Franklin Creek (Lee County) has determined the need to issue a Do Not Eat advisory for several species including common carp, white sucker, black bullhead, bluegill, smallmouth bass, rock bass, and creek chub due to high levels of PFUnA found in the fillet tissue. The FCMP is working with other Bureaus and Programs to further investigate the extent of PFAS contamination in the area.