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PFAS

Running faucet
Melissa Benmark / Michigan Radio

Michigan could have new PFAS rules in place as early as April. That's after the Environmental Rules Review Committee approved the proposed rules Thursday.

The committee voted to approve a set of draft rules regulating the industrial contaminants, which includes drinking water standards for seven types of PFAS.

A rusty barrel in the woods
Bryce Huffman

Minnesota-based 3M will pay $55 million to Wolverine Worldwide to address PFAS contamination in Kent County.

Wolverine Worldwide is based in Rockford. It has said it could spend $113 million to meet its obligations in a settlement with the State of Michigan and two townships over PFAS. That money includes $69.5 million to extend a municipal water system to more than 1,000 residences where PFAS has been found in well water.

Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency indicates it will take years to regulate PFAS in drinking water, if it does at all. 

The USEPA has proposed to regulate two forms of the thousands of chemicals in the per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances family. PFOA and PFOS were the most commonly used.

DEQ (now EGLE)

Federal district judge Janet Neff approved a settlement agreement between the state of Michigan, two Kent County townships, and Wolverine Worldwide.

Former Detroit mayor Kwame Kilpatrick
Michigan Radio

Today on Stateside, as President Trump pardons a slew of white-collar criminals, some Detroiters are asking for consideration for Kwame Kilpatrick. The former Detroit mayor is serving a lengthy sentence on corruption charges. What would a commutation do for Trump's standing in metro Detroit? Also, a new documentary tells the story of how a lakeside town in West Michigan became contaminated with PFAS.

Dustin Dwyer / Michigan Radio

Many residents in northern Kent County say they're happy with a proposed settlement agreement over contamination from chemicals known as PFAS in the area, though some said they wish the agreement would go further. 

The Michigan attorney general's office held a forum to hear public comments on its consent decree Monday night in Rockford. More than 100 people showed up.

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Melissa Benmark / Michigan Radio

State Attorney General Dana Nessel announced that paperwork has been filed on a proposed settlement with Wolverine Worldwide over PFAS contamination.

Nessel’s office announced a tentative agreement in December. The state and two townships in northern Kent County had filed lawsuits against the shoe company for contaminating water with chemicals in the PFAS family.

a man stands in front of a classroom at a white board
Jennifer Guerra / Michigan Radio

Today on Stateside, a Democratic congressman is proposing new regulations for safe disposal of PFAS. Plus, schools around the state are increasingly relying on long-term substitute teachers. We talk about what this means for students, and strategies for getting more certified teachers into classrooms.

a sign that says Flint River along the actual flint river
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Today on Stateside, it’s been four years since the state announced a criminal investigation into the Flint water crisis. We talked to two journalists who covered the crisis about lessons learned on government accountability and public health. Plus, the state of Michigan files suit against some of the biggest names in corporate America over PFAS contamination. We'll hear about how a similar case played out in Minnesota. 

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

The state of Michigan is suing 17 defendants seeking damages for widespread PFAS contamination. The defendants include industrial giants 3M and DuPont. 

The lawsuit was filed in Washtenaw County Circuit Court on Tuesday.

PFAS are a family of industrial chemicals linked to serious human health issues, including cancer. PFAS have been used in many consumer products and in firefighting foam. 

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Melissa Benmark / Michigan Radio

Michigan’s efforts to combat PFAS contamination could get a boost from a bill up for a vote on Friday in the U.S. House of Representatives.  

Winnie Brinks
Bryce Huffman / Michigan Radio

State officials held the first of three public hearings on Wednesday on plans to set limits on PFAS in drinking water. Certain kinds of the industrial chemicals have been linked to cancer and other health problems.

State Senator Winnie Brinks (D-Grand Rapids), spoke during the public hearing. She said elected officials should ensure their residents have clean drinking water.

Water running from tap
jordanmrcai / Creative Commons

The Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy is holding three public hearings this month on its plans to set drinking water standards for chemicals known as PFAS.

The public hearings are a part of the state’s plan to establish drinking water standards, sampling requirements, public notification requirements, and laboratory certification criteria.

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

Good news for the city of Ann Arbor's drinking water - and the residents who drink it.

The city's Drinking Water Quality Manager, Sarah Page, says tests have detected no PFOS and PFOA compounds in the past five months.  PFOS and PFOA are two of the most worrisome PFAS compounds.

Joel Sanderson at an iron forge
Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

Today on Stateside, we talk to Paul Mitchell, who represents Michigan’s 10th District, about his view on the impeachment proceedings against President Trump. Plus, we talk to one of the longest-serving members of the Capitol press corps about his nearly five decades covering Michigan politics.

Running faucet
Melissa Benmark / Michigan Radio

Wolverine Worldwide says it will pay nearly $70 million to build municipal water systems in two communities affected by PFAS contamination. 

The company used the chemicals to waterproof its shoes for years. The harmful chemicals contaminated the ground and entered into local wells.  The company says it will now pay to build the water systems to connect more than 1,000 properties to municipal water in Algoma and Plainfield Townships. It says the plan is part of a tentative agreement to resolve lawsuits involving the state and townships.

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

Congress has reached a final agreement on the annual national defense bill, the National Defense Authorization Act. This year’s bill includes a number of provisions to regulate the chemical family PFAS.

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

Researchers from the University of Michigan, Notre Dame University and Indiana University released a report that found West Michigan shoe-maker Wolverine Worldwide is still using pollutants known as PFAS in its products.

Wolverine has been getting a lot of press the past couple years, because it is a large source of PFAS contamination throughout northern Kent County.

Running faucet
Melissa Benmark / Michigan Radio

In the past several years, dozens of communities across Michigan have learned their drinking water is contaminated with per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances. This group of chemicals, commonly referred to as PFAS, are “forever chemicals.” They persist in the environment and in the bodies of people regularly exposed to them without breaking down.

Dustin Dwyer / Michigan Radio

The swirling liquid rushes into concrete channels behind a black chain-link fence.

“That is what sewage looks like,” says Nicole Pasch, who works in Environmental Services for the city of Grand Rapids.

Pasch is showing off the wastewater treatment facility, along with the various stages the sewage has to pass through before it can be sent back into the nearby Grand River, which flows into Lake Michigan.

bus stop sign
fabi k / Creative Commons

Today on Stateside, a reboot of efforts to expand regional transit in Southeast Michigan. Plus, as the state tackles PFAS contamination, we look at the lessons missed in the 1973 PBB crisis in St. Louis, Michigan.

"Here we are again:" Decades after PBB crisis, echoes seen in current PFAS crisis

Nov 18, 2019
Dale Young / Bridge Magazine

In 1973, an accident at a chemical plant in the small town of St. Louis in the middle of Michigan’s mitten triggered one of the largest mass poisonings in American history.

PFAS clean-up costs are increasing. Michigan taxpayers may have to foot the bill.

Nov 18, 2019
Terry and Tom Hula exit a shed that contains a 1,500-gallon water tank on their property in Belmont.
Steve Jessmore / Bridge Magazine

Terry Hula loves Christmas. So much so, she and her husband, Tom, bought a home 28 years ago that was surrounded by a Christmas tree farm.

deer
mwanner_wc / creative commons

Today on Stateside, new draft regulations for PFAS in drinking water take a step closer to becoming a reality. Plus, Detroit struggles to get landlords to comply with rules that protect renters.

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

The state of Michigan is a step closer to establishing the limits of PFAS in drinking water. PFAS is a family of chemicals that have been discovered in high levels in drinking water at sites across the state. Yesterday the Environmental Rules Review Committee voted to move the draft regulations forward. If approved, the new regulations will be among the strictest in the nation. The next step is a public comment period along with public hearings, which are expected to be announced before year's end. 

water faucet
Flickr user Bart / http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

The Flint water crisis showed the state—and the country—that clean drinking water isn't something we can take for granted. But it isn’t just Flint. Recent water samples put St. Clair Shores on the list of Michigan communities with high levels of lead in their water. Other areas of the state are worried about PFAS contamination.

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

Former Governor Rick Snyder stirred controversy when he appointed business and industry representatives to the Environmental Rules Review Committee (ERRC), a regulatory oversight board to oversee rulemaking within the Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy.

 

Now, that board is slowing down the advancement of new drinking water standards that limit acceptable levels of chemicals from the PFAS family in Michigan’s drinking water.

U.S. Rep. Elissa Slotkin
U.S. Congress

U.S. Representative Elissa Slotkin (D-Holly) is urging the Department of Defense to replace PFAS-foam at military bases faster.

She sent a letter to the head of Pentagon PFAS Task Force, Assistant Secretary Robert McMahon, earlier this week.

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.

Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

A lab error is being blamed for a positive test for chemical contamination with a chemical in the PFAS family in the River Raisin watershed.

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