Michigan PFAS Action Response Team | Michigan Radio
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Michigan PFAS Action Response Team

PFAS foam on lakeshore
Michigan Department of Environmental Quality / Flickr http://bit.ly/1xMszCg

The Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy sent draft rules that would limit PFAS contamination in drinking water to Governor Whitmer’s office Tuesday.

The Michigan PFAS Action Response Team approved the set of rules last Friday after months of gathering input from scientists, citizen groups, and businesses across the state.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

A new report finds PFAS contamination in about one in ten public water systems in Michigan.

PFAS compounds (per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances) have been linked to serious health problems.  The chemicals were used in a variety of products, from firefighting foam to food packaging.

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

Michigan could be among the first states to regulate a chemical known as GenX. It’s one of seven members of the PFAS family of compounds named by the Michigan PFAS Action Response Team, or MPART, as potentially requiring a maximum contaminant level for drinking water.

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

A Michigan science advisory workgroup released recommendations on Thursday for the state to implement some of the strictest standards in the nation for PFAS.

PFAS, or perfluoroalkyl substances, are a family of chemicals that have been found across the state and are linked to health problems including cancer. The Michigan PFAS Action Response Team received health-based recommendations from the workgroup for seven PFAS compounds. It recommends setting drinking water limits as low as six parts per trillion.

PFAS foam on lakeshore
Michigan Department of Environmental Quality / Flickr http://bit.ly/1xMszCg

Two federal agencies are looking into the effects PFAS chemicals have on people living near military bases, but no Michigan sites are being looked at.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention or Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry’s study will look at volunteers from places that include New York, West Virginia, Alaska, and Texas.

DEQ

Very high levels of PFAS chemicals have been found in groundwater at a West Michigan manufacturing plant. The Michigan Department of Environmental Quality says the Viking Corporation used firefighting foam containing PFAS chemicals at its facility in Hastings.

In October, the company began collecting groundwater samples, and the results show extremely high levels of PFAS chemicals. The highest result: 335,090 parts per trillion. That's the total for all the kinds of PFAS chemicals the company tested for in groundwater near the plant.

PFAS sites in Michigan
Kaye LaFond / Michigan Radio

PFAS discharges from Kalamazoo's wastewater treatment plant are now under the state limit of 12 parts per trillion for surface water.

That's down from a high of about 53 parts per trillion last summer.

PFAS foam on lakeshore
Michigan Department of Environmental Quality / Flickr http://bit.ly/1xMszCg

The Michigan PFAS Action Response Team released the findings from the independent PFAS Science Advisory Committee appointed by Gov. Rick Snyder.

The 90-page report includes analysis of the causes and effects of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), as well as 17 recommendations to the state in its ongoing response to PFAS contamination.

drinking fountain
Flickr

Robinson Elementary School in Grand Haven is the newest addition to the list of sites with water contaminated by PFAS chemicals in Michigan.

Tests of the drinking water at the school showed levels of PFAS chemicals measuring 144 parts per trillion (ppt). That's well above the 70 ppt health advisory level set by the Environmental Protection Agency.

Kristina Wieghmink is with the Ottawa County Department of Public Health.

Federal, state, and local officials sitting at a roundtable meeting
Bryce Huffman / Michigan Radio

Officials from the EPA, the Michigan PFAS Action Response Team and Michigan Department of Health and Human Services met in Kalamazoo to discuss PFAS chemicals, but only a handful of selected speakers could ask questions and share their thoughts.

Many of the speakers, including officials from Ann Arbor, Parchment, and Oscoda, want the EPA and other federal agencies to move faster to solve the issue.

Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

One of the contaminated PFAS sites first documented in Michigan was in Oscoda Township near the former Wurtsmith Air Force Base. The base has been closed for years.  Firefighting training there used a fire suppressant foam containing a PFAS chemical.

Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

There have been more news stories in recent months about water contamination from a group of industrial chemicals. PFAS chemical pollution seems to have come out of nowhere. That’s not exactly true. PFAS contamination has been known to be a problem. What's different is we’re discovering the problem is bigger than imagined.

In recent months, the State of Michigan has found several places where drinking water and fish are contaminated by a class of chemicals called PFAS. This pollution is coming from a variety of sources.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Starting Friday, a new water plant will begin treating contaminated groundwater near the old Wurtsmith Air Force Base in Oscoda.

The base was decommissioned in 1993. But man-made chemicals known as PFAS (Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances) have been slowly leaching into the neighboring community’s groundwater for decades.  

chase and steve moskalik in front of cases of bottled water at Parchment high school
Catherine Shaffer / Michigan Radio

Late last week, Michigan declared a state of emergency in Kalamazoo County. The state told 3,100 residents of Parchment and nearby Cooper Township to stop drinking and cooking with municipal water.

Water running from tap
jordanmrcai / Creative Commons

The state will reimburse Kent County for some 8,000 hours it's spent working on groundwater contamination.

The DEQ PFAS Investigation Map near Rockford, MI
From Google map provided by Wolverine Worldwide

Michigan will spend $1.7 million to test water supplies around the state for certain kinds of industrial chemical contaminants. The chemicals are known as PFAS, which stands for per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances.

Water faucet
user william_warby / Flickr http://bit.ly/1xMszCg

A recent report and interactive map shows that Michigan is the nationwide leader for known PFAS contamination sites.

Michigan leads the country with 28 known contamination sites in at least 15 communities.

Van Etten Lake in Oscoda, Michigan
Kaye LaFond / Michigan Radio

A group of Oscoda residents is angry with the governor’s task force that responds to PFAS issues around the state.

The group Need Our Water – or NOW – spoke to the Michigan PFAS Action Response Team (MPART) about the ongoing groundwater contamination there.

The chemicals known as PFAS were used in firefighting foam at the Wurtsmith Air Force Base in Oscoda.