PFAS: Where have they been found in public water supplies? | Michigan Radio
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PFAS: Where have they been found in public water supplies?

Feb 25, 2019

Updated, February 25, 2019

The Michigan Department of Environmental Quality has released results of a 2018 state-wide sampling of public, school and tribal water supplies for per-and polyfluoroalkyl substances, or PFAS.

Of 1,114 public water systems, 119 have been found to contain some level of PFAS. No tribal water supplies contained PFAS.

Of 461 schools and 152 daycares and Head Start programs operating their own wells, 59 have been found to contain some level of PFAS.

The study cost $1.7 million.

According to the DEQ press release, only the city of Parchment and Robinson Elementary School near Grand Haven returned levels "exceeding the [...] 70 parts per trillion (ppt) for perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) and perfluorooctanesulfonic acid (PFOS) individually or combined in drinking water." Michigan Radio has previously reported on these areas.

In August of 2018, the city of Parchment was connected to Kalamazoo's municipal water system. Plans to install a carbon filtration system at Robinson Elementary are slated for later this year. The school is currently being supplied with bottled water.

The MDEQ's data show that EightCAP of Ionia County, FiveCAP Inc. of Lake County, Central Montcalm Schools, Tri County Junior High in Montcalm County, Glengary Elementary in Oakland County, and Leland Public School District 2 returned total PFAS test results over 70 ppt at some point during the study (although the EPA limit only applies to PFOA and PFOS, not total PFAS). 

“Protecting the public remains our top priority,” MDEQ Director Liesl Clark said. “MPART will continue to work with communities with detections of PFAS in their water to help them investigate and take action to drive down exposure levels.”

The Michigan PFAS Action Response Team (MPART) will fund quarterly monitoring of municipal systems, schools and daycares with total PFAS levels of 10 ppt or higher, through 2019.

This map shows locations where PFAS has been detected in public water supplies. Clicking on a dot will show the highest PFAS measurement at that location. Full testing data, including for schools, daycares and Head Start programs, can be found on the state's PFAS response website. 

Original post, Oct. 4, 2018:

This spring, the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality set out to test 1,300 public water systems for PFAS. So far, it's showed up in 69 places, ranging from large city systems to small mobile home park supplies.

Only twice has it tested over the action level of 70 parts per trillion -- once at astronomical levels in the City of Parchment, where a State of Emergency was declared before water quality could be restored -- and once at 72 parts per trillion in *one* of the City of Kalamazoo's pumping stations (this was deemed to not be cause for concern, and also, this was total PFAS, whereas the action level only applies to PFOA and PFOS). 

This map shows locations where any amount of PFAS has been detected. Clicking on a dot will show the highest PFAS measurement at that location. The state is projected to finish this testing in November, and Michigan Radio will update the map as test results continue to be released. Full testing data can be found on the state's PFAS response website. 

Correction: An earlier version of this post indicated there were 60 schools with some level of PFAS. It has been updated to reflect that the number is actually 59.

Clarification: Water systems that tested over 70 ppt for total PFAS are listed in this article. Language has been added to make it clear that the EPA limit only applies to PFOA and PFOS, not total PFAS.