Michigan DEQ Discovers PFAS

Jan. 1, 2019

The Michigan DEQ will begin an investigation to determine the source and distribution of PFAS

The Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) has discovered 20 more wells with traces of hazardous substances after the latest round of PFAS testing in Robinson Township.

According to the Grand Haven Tribune, the DEQ will begin a hydrogeologic investigation to determine the source and distribution of PFAS in the area after finding per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) in more than half of 66 wells in the township.

Potential sources of PFAS include the use of firefighting foam, undocumented dump sites, biosolid applications and materials from a nearby highway construction project, according to the Ottawa County Department of Public Health. The investigation will determine groundwater flow direction and includes the collection of soil and groundwater samples.

There are now five wells in the township with more than 100 parts per trillion (ppt) total PFAS, according to the Grand Haven Tribune.

Robinson Township residents have been offered the installation of a water filter for their kitchen sink, according to the Tribune. Michigan Department of Health and Human Services officials say they have distributed more than 1,000 water filter statewide.

Resident Jenn Fett said her family has not panicked about PFAS in their water, but hope other residents don’t dismiss the potential health risks.

“This PFAS is here, and it’s probably in a lot of places, and people are probably unaware that it’s in their water,” Fett said to the Tribune. “This is all new, and we’re doing tons of research and trying to find out the best way to go about this.”

Fett hopes more residential wells are tested, as the DEQ moves toward find the contamination source.

“I think the community members have a right to know if it’s there,” she said to the Tribune.

According to the Tribune, of the 37 wells tested, PFAs was detected in 20. The rest came back with no detection. The EPA’s lifetime health advisory accounts for two PFAS chemicals, perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS) and perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA). According to the Tribune, both chemicals were found in 13 of the wells tested. However, none of the wells had these compounds over the EPA limit.