“ORLEANS TOWNSHIP, MI — Drinking water at an Ionia County preschool has tested positive for elevated levels of contamination by per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, or PFAS.

On Monday, Aug. 6, the EightCAP Orleans Head Start center at 5827 Orleans Road east of Belding announced a total PFAS detection of 182 parts-per-trillion (ppt) in the facility well.

The school is on summer recess, said Dan Peterson, EightCap president. Bottled water has begun for year-round staff.

During session, up to 18 students ages 3 to 5 and about 15 staff members use the facility, which has previously been used as a county mental health facility and an elementary school.

EightCap previously operated a charter elementary school, Threshold Academy, in the building that served about 150 students.

‘Our concern is on providing notice and making sure we implement measures in addition to bottled water,’ said Peterson. ‘We’re reaching out to water treatment professionals to see if there is anything we can put in the building to reduce those levels.’

The contamination was discovered Aug. 3 by the state, which is testing all public water supplies and schools on well water in Michigan for PFAS contamination.

Test results show 180-ppt of PFBS and 2-ppt of PFHxA in the well, according to EightCAP. The chemicals are two of many that make up the PFAS family of compounds.

Scott Dean, Michigan Department of Environmental Quality spokesperson, said the state plans to resample the well.

State records show multiple other private drinking water wells near the school, which is just north of the village of Orleans.

The contamination in the school well is above the Environmental Protection Agency’s 70-ppt health advisory level, which the state has been using to evaluate the seriousness of PFAS contamination in drinking water. Technically, the advisory only applies to the chemicals PFOS and PFOA, but state agencies have been applying the benchmark to other PFAS detections as well.

PFBS is a PFOS replacement chemical for which federal health regulators are currently drafting a toxicity risk assessment…

According to the DEQ, school and water supply testing is about 20 percent complete in Ionia County.”

Read the full article by Garret Ellison