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Environment & Climate Change

EGLE reports compliance with PFAS drinking water standards

PFAS foam on the Huron River.
Lester Graham
/
Michigan Radio

Michigan put in place drinking water standards for the chemical family of PFAS, or per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances in August 2020. Those are among the most stringent in the country.

Nearly eight months later, the Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy says it's been seeing a lot of success in getting public water systems in compliance with the new rules. Michigan has roughly 2,700 public water works, and EGLE reports that most of those systems are in compliance.

Scott Dean is a spokesman for EGLE and works with the Michigan PFAS Action Response Team, or MPART. He says there are grants available to those who are still looking to get into compliance.

"There’s always a concern when you put new rules into place in terms of how people will pay for them and how people will be able to get into compliance. But so far, we’re not seeing any tremendous problems, we’re actually seeing voluntary cooperation," Dean says.

He says smaller systems who were not compliant merged with a larger, compliant system, systems shut down contaminated wells, and other systems drill deeper to find an uncontaminated water source.

Dean says the state is encouraged by the bipartisan efforts of state lawmakers to put strict PFAS regulations into place.

"I think it shows that this administration in Michigan is committed to safe drinking water for all Michiganders," he says. "Michigan has established itself as a leader in the investigation and response to PFAS in drinking water."

He says there's only a handful of systems — fewer than 10 — of the state's roughly 2,700 public drinking water systems that have yet to reach compliance, and the state is working with them to meet the standards.

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