Related — Solution near in Parchment a month after contamination

“PARCHMENT, MI — Levels of toxic compounds are present in homes connected to Parchment city water at levels below a health level set by the state and federal government.

Subsequent tests are required before state officials can determine drinking water is safe for residents in Parchment and Cooper Township. Hooking up the city of Kalamazoo’s water supply to Parchment stirred up particulates that included high levels of lead and copper, though more recent tests found less evidence of those substances.

Thursday, the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality reported results from 50 tests taken to find per- and polyfluorinated compounds, known collectively as PFAS, lingering after the Parchment water system was flushed of highly contaminated water…

PFOA and PFOA, two of the fluorinated substances linked to various health risks in adults and children, were found up to 42 parts per trillion. The most recent samples, taken Aug. 15, showed the two compounds remained at levels of 6-8 ppt.

Kalamazoo County Environmental Health Director Vern Johnson said officials are trying to be cautious and ensure public health is not at risk before telling residents to drink from their tap again…

There is no guideline for total PFAS. However, DEQ spokesperson Scott Dean said that state does not like to see levels for total PFAS higher than 70 ppt, despite having less solid information about health risks posed by compounds other than PFOS and PFOA.

The Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) issued draft risk assessments in June that suggest 70-ppt may be seven to 10 times too high to protect everyone who might consume PFOS and PFOA compounds in water. It suggested federal standards for other PFAS compounds, including PFHxS and PFNA.

In Parchment, the sum of all PFAS compounds were found at levels between 10-77 ppt in tests after the city’s water system was connected to Kalamazoo’s. Tests of water sampled Aug. 15 found 24-33 ppt in the system.

Samples were taken from 13 locations. PFAS tests will be taken on a weekly basis moving forward.

Parchment was among the first systems to return results as part of the $1.7 million statewide initiative, which the DEQ says reached its midway point this week. So far, Parchment is the only municipal supply where levels greater than 70 ppt were found.

Tests found 1,410 ppt of PFOA and PFOS entering Parchment’s municipal water system on July 26, which prompted a Do Not Drink order. That night, Kalamazoo Public Services Director James Baker began organizing a response effort to push Parchment water out of the system.

Kalamazoo fire trucks were connected to Parchment hydrants to send high-pressure water through the system. Within 72 hours, Baker said, all of Parchment’s water supply was flushed.

Subsequent tests of Parchment’s groundwater source wells detected total PFAS between 271-ppt and 1,828-ppt. Pipes connecting the municipal well field to water mains were removed, Baker said, cutting off the potential for contamination.

Since flushing, the contamination level has been decreasing. Two connection points linking Kalamazoo and Parchment’s water systems have been completed, while work on another is ongoing.

‘Once that flush happened (water results) were compliant for PFAS, but we want to have a few more dots on the graph,’ Dean said.

The Kalamazoo water system will supply drinking water to Parchment for the next year. According to statewide results released this week, Kalamazoo’s levels are the second highest thus far for total PFAS.

Total PFAS readings in treated water from tests on June 15 showed 72-ppt and 69-ppt in two water stations used during peak flow periods. PFOS and PFOA were found at 18 ppt and 19 ppt.

Two Kalamazoo baseload stations feeding Parchment’s water system found total PFAS between 9-19 ppt…

Two homes detected levels of lead at 16 ppb, higher than the state’s action level of 15 ppb. Lead was found in two other homes below the action level, and were not detected in the other four homes.

Copper was detected in seven homes below the action level of 1300 ppb and greater than the action level in one home.”

Read the full article by Malachi Barrett