“LAPEER — Lapeer Plating & Plastics faces being cut off from the City of Lapeer’s sewerage system in two weeks — unless it can demonstrate lowered levels of a cancer-causing contaminant traced to the company’s property.

Dean Harlow, CEO, Lapeer Plating & Plastics, said the company would effectively be shut down in the event of being cut off. It would have nowhere to send effluent wastewater, he said, resulting from Lapeer Plating’s use of about 75,000 gallons of water daily. The company’s plant is located on DeMille Road, between McCormick and Saginaw.

Further, Harlow said, the shutdown would have a ripple effect on the auto industry, as Lapeer Plating produces parts for automakers and their suppliers.

The problem? Perfluorooctanesulfonic sulfonic acid, or PFOS. PFOS reportedly has adverse health effects. It’s been linked with cancer, delays in physical development, and more.

In Michigan, the Dept. of Environmental Quality (MDEQ) sets the amount of allowable PFOS at 12 parts per trillion (ppt) or less. One ppt equates to a single drop of food coloring in the equivalent of 40 Olympicsized swimming pools.

As recent as August 2017, tests showed 19,000 ppt of PFOS originating at Lapeer Plating.

Harlow said the company has spent about $1.5 million addressing the problem since October. Another $1 million is likely to be spent, he said.

Tests show the company has made great strides in reducing PFOS levels, but Harlow said there is still work to be done…

In a March 13 letter to MDEQ, Harlow said, ‘The scope of the project continues to expand, and now threatens (the) viability (of) the company and its 368 employees.’

Despite such claims, Dale Kerbyson, city manager, Lapeer, said the city needs to take a tough stance on pushing Lapeer Plating to meet MDEQ requirements.

Among other things, he said, a permit could be jeopardized for the city’s wastewater treatment plant — the only stop for wastewater coming from Lapeer Plating before it goes into the Flint River. The wastewater plant must meet its own set of guidelines set be MDEQ to continue operating.”

Read the full article by Andrew Dietderich