Sewer plants in Michigan are working to eliminate PFAS in tests to make sure the contaminant is not released in the Grand River
According to MLive, Plainfield is a member community of the North Kent Sewer Authority, Cannon and Courtland townships and the city of Rockford.
According to Plainfield Township Superintendent Cameron VanWyngarden, the Michigan state agency asked municipal sewer treatment plants to test for PFAS in their sewer discharge.
PFAS can be tied to cancer, thyroid problems and other diseases. According to MLive, the chemicals have been linked to industrial waste dumped by Wolverine World Wide, a global shoe company based in Rockford.
Most municipal sewer treatment plants are not equipped to deal with emerging contaminants like PFAS which require a different treatment process, according to VanWyngarden said.
According to MLive, the NKSA sewer treatment plant was designed with a state of the art microfiltration process and the water is UV treated for viruses and pathogens before discharging into the Grand River.
“However, as cutting-edge as this technology may be, it cannot filter out PFAS compounds,” VanWyngarden said to MLive.
The staff at NKSA has tested multiple locations within the sewer collection system to determine PFAS source point to address continued PFAS concerns.
Scott Schoolcraft, NKSA director, said NKSA has determined a handful of contributors and has worked with area manufacturers to identify and eliminate PFAS contributions in its waste stream.
This has helped to reduce the PFAS levels reaching the sewer treatment plant since testing began, according to MLive. The newly installed GAC filtration in the Plainfield water plant is also helping reduce levels.
“NKSA is working with remaining identified contributors that will need to install PFAS filtration methods in their waste stream and is confident those sources will also be eliminated in the near future,” VanWyngarden said to MLive.
According to Schoolcraft, the plants are tested for PFAS once a month and began in the summer.
“I think the bigger picture is we are doing everything we can to eliminate (PFAS) as much as possible,” Schoolcraft said to MLive.