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PFAS

Water filter
Bryce Huffman / Michigan Radio

Plainfield Township could end up paying millions of dollars more than it though due to PFAS.

Residents of Plainfield Township in Kent County, north of Grand Rapids, are dealing with PFAS pollution. State officials believe it was caused by shoe-manufacturer Wolverine Worldwide, and there is ongoing lawsuit addressing who is to blame

Gerald R. Ford International Airport near Grand Rapids
Photo courtesy of the Gerald R Ford International Airport

Samples are expected to be taken from about 49 residential drinking water wells in western Michigan to test for chemical contaminants. Michigan's Department of Environmental Quality says the wells are along Trout Creek in Cascade Township and that the testing is part of its ongoing investigation of potential PFAS contamination sources near the Gerald R. Ford International Airport.

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

Environmental activists are accusing the Department of Defense of trying to weaken proposed new cleanup standards for a group of industrial chemicals.

The New York Times reports the DOD is urging the Trump administration to adopt 380 parts per trillion as the new cleanup standard for PFAS in groundwater.

American Sign Language for A - S - L
U.S. Air Force Photo Illustration/Airman 1st Class Kyle Johnson

Today on Stateside, Governor Whitmer announced a plan earlier this week to introduce a 45 cent gas tax by October 2020. Are there enough road workers to put all that funding to use? Plus, Ingham County is building a public defender office from the ground up. We talk about the challenges of developing a brand new governmental department. 

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

A Defense Department official told a congressional committee that cleaning up PFAS contamination at current and former military bases carries a hefty price tag.

A map showing PFAS sites in Michigan
Kaye LaFond / Michigan Radio

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.

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.

people standing in front of a map
Bryce Huffman / Michigan Radio

Muskegon County residents left a PFAS meeting last night with more questions than answers.

County officials have tested 92 residential wells near the Muskegon County Airport since August, and eight have PFAS levels above the EPA clean up standard of 70 parts per trillion.

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.

a side by side of Dan Kildee and then a river with pfas foam on it
dankildee.house.gov / Lester Graham

Today on Stateside, the EPA on Thursday released a plan to deal with contamination from per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances – better known as PFAS. U.S. Rep. Dan Kildee says the plan shows the agency is “dragging their feet.” Plus, what it’s like to straddle two worlds as the first person in your family to go to college.

Mike Russell / creative commons

Michigan lawmakers introduced new bills designed to make polluters pay. It requires that the polluter clean up the pollutant as much as technically possible.

Democrats Senator Jeff Irwin and Representative Yousef Rabhi introduced identical bills in the House and Senate Thursday. Irwin says there was a polluter-pay law, but the Engler administration changed them in 1995.

Do not eat the fish because of pfas sign
Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

Today on Stateside, we talk about what's in the Environment Protection Agency's new plan to address PFAS contamination. Plus, Valentine's Day is all about showing love, so how about showing love for the place that you live?  

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

A number of environmental groups, Democratic politicians, and citizens who live in areas contaminated with PFAS are criticizing Thursday's PFAS Action Plan announcement by the U.S. EPA.

PFAS is a class of chemicals linked to health problems that's contaminating many drinking water systems.  

EPA outlines plan for dealing with PFAS in water

Feb 14, 2019
PFAS foam on lakeshore
Michigan Department of Environmental Quality / Flickr http://bit.ly/1xMszCg

Under strong pressure from Congress, the Environmental Protection Agency said Thursday that it will move ahead this year with a process that could lead to setting a safety threshold for a group of highly toxic chemicals in drinking water.

Acting EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler said the immediate focus would be on two of the most common chemicals in the group, both of which have been phased out by manufacturers but remain in the environment and have suspected links to health threats ranging from cancer to decreased fertility.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

New data shows elevated levels of PFAS in sewers passing through the old Buick City site in Flint.

PFAS are a family of chemicals that have been linked to serious health concerns.   

The term PFAS refers specifically to per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, (the term “PFCs,” or perfluorinated chemicals is also sometimes used).

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Environmentalists are giving a road map to Michigan’s elected leaders for dealing with threats to the state’s land, lakes and drinking water.  

Twenty conservation and environmental groups delivered their recommendations last week.

Lisa Wozniak is the executive director of the Michigan League of Conservation Voters. 

Elissa Slotkin
Cheyna Roth / MPRN

Today on Stateside, U.S. Representative Elissa Slotkin (D-Holly) tells us what she thinks it will take to end the longest partial federal government shutdown in United States history, now in its fifth week.  Plus, we hear about some up-and-coming artists in the Detroit's music scene, and say goodbye to a legendary guitarist from the city. 

person weighing weed on scale
Unsplash

Today on Stateside, Michigan regulators allow unlicensed dispensaries and growers to reopen in midst of a medical marijuana shortage. Plus, a software engineer who traded building software for building kitchen cabinets.

faucet running water
Marina Shemesh / Public Domain

A new bill in the state Senate would set a limit of 5 parts per trillion for two common PFAS chemicals in drinking water.

PFOA and PFOS are part of a family of chemicals linked to serious health issues – including cancer.

Senator Winnie Brinks introduced the bill. She says research shows the current Environmental Protection Agency advisory level of 70 parts per trillion is too high.

Rachel Kramer / https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nd/2.0/

Authorities are testing surface water from the Grand River after an abandoned plating facility in Jackson was found to have high levels of PFAS chemicals. Michner Plating joins the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality's list of more than two dozen industrial sites with high levels of PFAS contamination.

Map of Muskegon County PFAS testing area
Michigan Department of Environmental Quality

Health officials in Muskegon County have found 20 more wells with detectable levels of PFAS chemicals.

The county is testing in the area surrounding the Muskegon County Airport because PFAS chemicals have previously been found in wells there.

More than 110 wells have already been tested, and five homes had PFAS levels above the EPA advisory level of 70 parts per trillion.

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

Governor Rick Snyder used one of his last days in office to sign hundreds of bills. One will make it harder for the state to adopt stricter drinking water standards than the federal government.

Citizen groups like Michigan Demands Action against Contamination and Need Our Water -- or NOW --  have been urging state lawmakers to create a stricter clean up standard for PFAS chemicals, which have been found at high levels in drinking water for residents across the state.

Leather straps
Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

A West Michigan shoe manufacturer thinks they aren't the only ones to blame for PFAS polluted groundwater. 

Wolverine Worldwide has been at the middle of the groundwater contamination in northern Kent County since the state began warning residents about high levels of PFAS being found in their private wells. 

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.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

A controversial bill setting new standards for cleaning up contamination is on its way to the governor.

The state House approved the legislation Tuesday by a narrow 56 to 53 vote margin. The bill has already passed the state Senate.

Person driving a go-kart.
Takashi Azuma / Flickr

Today on Stateside, a scientist on the state's PFAS Scientific Advisory Committee breaks down the group's official report on how Michigan should deal with PFAS contamination. Plus, after her sister suffered permanent brain damage on a go-kart ride in 2015, Corri Sandwick has been pushing the state to make amusement parks safer. 

Listen to the full show above or find individual segments below. 

The Immigration and Customs Enforcement Office in Grand Rapids
Bryce Huffman / Michigan Radio

Today on Stateside, an attorney with the American Civil Liberties Union of Michigan gives an update on the approximately 100 Iraqi immigrants who were detained in police custody for nearly a year and a half before a U.S. District Judge ordered their release last month. Plus, the lawyer representing residents in the Rockford area whose water was contaminated with PFAS weighs in on Senate Bill 1244, which would overhaul Michigan's standards for cleaning up toxic chemicals. 

Wikimedia commons

 

Today, where do bills still passing through the Michigan Legislature stand as we head into the final week of the lame-duck session? Plus, we speak to two siblings who were separated in the foster care system. Now, they're fighting for a Sibling Bill of Rights. 

Legislator explains why school grading system is needed

 

Teacher standing in front of a classroom of children.
Unsplash

On today’s show, a toxicologist shares his concerns over a bill moving through Michigan's lame-duck legislature that would restrict what information the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality uses when determining standards for toxic contamination cleanup. Plus, our education commentator Matinga Ragatz on why it’s important that teachers not shy away from talking about race in the classroom.

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