Advertisement


Photo by Johnny McClung on Unsplash

| 2 min read | by Doug Marrin, dmarrin@thesuntimesnews.com |

The Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (EGLE) recently announced it is moving forward with establishing formal limits for certain PFAS compounds in drinking water. The move comes after reviewing draft regulations proposed by Gov. Gretchen Whitmer. The Governor’s office has been pushing both EGLE and the Michigan PFAS Action Response Team (MPART) to establish legal standards.

“Cleaning up drinking water and protecting public health is a top priority for me and my administration,” Whitmer said in a statement. “We can no longer wait for the federal government to act, which is why I directed EGLE to establish PFAS drinking water standards to protect Michiganders. Moving forward with the rulemaking process moves us one step closer toward building public confidence and achieving real solutions that ensure every Michigander can safely bathe their kids and give them a glass of water at the dinner table.”

PFAS (per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances) are a group of emerging and potentially harmful contaminants used in thousands of applications globally including firefighting foam, food packaging and many other consumer products. These compounds also are used by industries such as tanneries, metal platers and clothing manufacturers.

Advertisement

PFAS have been found in Ann Arbor’s drinking water. The most recent report can be found here. The contaminants have also been found in the Huron River to a level that a ‘Do Not Eat’ advisory has been issued for fish taken from the river. The same warning has been issued for deer taken in parts of Oscoda Township.

With the presence of PFAS becoming more prevalent, the state has been quickly working to establish what levels are safe to consume.

“This is an important milestone for the safety of Michigan’s drinking water,” EGLE Director Liesl Clark said. “These draft regulations represent the input from a diverse group of stakeholders who helped us shape regulations that are practical, science-driven and, most importantly, protective of public health. Here in Michigan, we remain committed to working together to root out PFAS contamination, protect at-risk populations and drive down exposure levels.”

EGLE is a State of Michigan agency whose mission is to protect Michigan’s environment and public health by managing air, water, land, and energy resources.

The draft rules cover seven forms of PFAS. Roughly 2,700 public water system operators around the state would be covered under the new rule.

Members of the multi-agency Michigan PFAS Action Response Team voted last month in favor of EGLE proceeding to establish Maximum Contaminant Levels (MCLs) for seven types of PFAS based on the MPART Science Advisory Workgroup’s recommended health-based values:

Draft Regulations for PFAS MCL

Specific PFASDrinking Water MCL
PFNA6 ng/L (ppt)
PFOA8 ng/L (ppt)
PFHxA400,000 ng/L (ppt)
PFOS16 ng/L (ppt)
PFHxA51 ng/L (ppt)
PFBS420 ng/L (ppt)
GenX370 ng/L (ppt)
  • ng = a nanogram which indicates a mass equal to one billionth.
  • L = Liter
  • ppt = parts per trillion

The draft rule will follow the Administrative Rules Process handled by the Environmental Rules Review Committee, Michigan Office of Administrative Hearings and Rules, and Joint Committee on Administrative Rules. The rule also will be subject to a public comment period beginning in late 2019. A final rule could be adopted by April 2020.

To learn more about PFAS, visit the MPART website: Michigan.gov/PFASResponse.

Advertisement