Related — Montcalm County school’s water has PFAS near safety level, bottled water planned

“All Tri County Area Schools are being tested by AECOM, a Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) contractor. According to Tri County Area Schools Superintendent Al Cummings, AECOM made the discovery of PFAS, which are man-made chemicals, at the middle school.

The results showed Tri County Middle School water sources tested positive for perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) and perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS). The middle school tested at 62 parts per trillion (ppt), slightly below the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) required limits for PFOA and PFOS of 70 parts per trillion.

PFAS were not detected at Tri County High School. The elementary schools are on municipal water and are currently being tested. Cumings said those results will be released as soon as they are received.

‘Tri County Area Schools is committed to providing our students, staff and community with quality drinking water,’ Cumings said. ‘We are working closely with MDEQ and are taking immediate steps to provide bottled water while investigating the source of the PFAS issue.’

Cumings said even though the middle school are below federal limits, the district is taking the following measures to ensure safe drinking water is available:

• Providing bottled water for drinking and meal preparation (immediately drinking fountains will not be available for use)

• Retaining an independent environmental engineering firm

• Working with the DEQ to identify a plan with a timeline to address this issue

• Working with the DEQ to evaluate alternative water sources

• Cooperating with the DEQ with regard to additional water testing and its investigation

Cumings said with safe drinking water an issue of concern across the state, the Tri County school district had been cooperating on an initiative with the DEQ to test drinking water from schools using well water and community water supplies. The initiative is designed to determine if public health action is needed.

Cumings sent a letter home to Tri County parents Friday explaining the situation. The letter can be read here: PFAS letter

Read the full article by Elisabeth Waldon