“GRAND RAPIDS, MI — Grand Rapids municipal drinking water contains low levels of toxic per- and polyfluorinated compounds called PFAS, according to recent tests from the city’s water department.

Michigan health officials say the low PFAS levels are not cause for alarm.

Test results show combined levels of PFOS and PFOA, two PFAS compounds, in finished tap water product at 3.19-parts per trillion — nearly 22 times below the federal lifetime health advisory of 70-parts per trillion, or ppt.

Previous tests of the city’s water system as late as November 2017 did not detect PFAS. But previous tests also had much higher reporting thresholds of 20-ppt for PFOA and 40-ppt for PFOS, meaning that anything below those levels was labelled ‘non-detect,’ according to Dave Harran, the city’s water system manager.

‘These tests are getting more refined,’ Harran said.

The system serves about 300,000 people in multiple municipalities across the greater Grand Rapids area. The detected levels, state health officials say, aren’t cause for concern.

‘If it’s a level of 3-ppt, it’s not something residents should be concerned about in their municipal water,’ said Angela Minicuci, spokeswoman for Michigan Department of Health and Human Services. ‘As far as municipal water goes, 3-ppt is not something we would be taking action on at this point.’…

Levels found in the Grand Rapids municipal water system also are below stricter health guidelines proposed in a new federal study. According to environmental chemists, the study’s suggested ‘minimum risk levels’ translate roughly to 7-ppt for PFOS and 11-ppt for PFOA.

Because of that, Harran said he feels ‘comfortable’ with the levels found and doesn’t expect them to change. At this time, there are no plans to install PFAS filtration systems, he said.

‘Our test results showed what was expected: PFAS-related compounds have been in use around Lake Michigan for decades and a very small amount — below the detection limits — is present,’ Harran said in an email. ‘We expect PFAS levels to remain relatively consistent since Lake Michigan is a stable source of water.’

The Grand Rapids municipal system draws its water from Lake Michigan at a depth of 50 feet and about a mile from shore, according to Mike Grenier, superintendent of the Lake Michigan filtration plant.

Of 24 PFAS compounds tested for in the water system, only PFOS, PFOA and 6:2 FTS were detected at levels above the reporting limit. PFOA was detected at 1.38-ppt, PFOS at 1.81-ppt and 6:2 FTS at 1.55-ppt, according to the results.

The combined PFAS levels are 4.74-ppt. Unlike PFOS and PFOA, there is no federal health advisory for 6:2 FTS…

Unlike the city’s results, Harran said, the state plans to cut its reporting limit off at 2-ppt for each compound, meaning the state’s results for the Grand Rapids water system would be a ‘non-detect’ for PFAS if found at similar levels.”

Read the full article by Michael Kransz