Read the full article by Ryan Stanton

“ANN ARBOR, MI – Ann Arbor officials are taking additional steps to ensure city residents are drinking safe water, spending another $850,000 to try to better filter out harmful PFAS chemicals.

PFAS, a family of per- and poly-fluorinated ‘forever chemicals’ linked to cancer and other health conditions, is found in the Huron River water that Ann Arbor draws for drinking water.

To reduce the amount of PFAS ending up in the drinking water delivered to customers, the city’s water treatment plant is purchasing new granular activated carbon to improve filtration.

The City Council voted last week to approve a $750,000 increase to a previous $161,727 contract with Calgon Carbon Corp., along with an extra $100,000 for the labor required for installation…

‘The city has GAC filters, and the existing filters remove some of the PFAS,’ she wrote in a new memo to the City Council. ‘In addition, the city has been piloting a new type of carbon in its filters since November 2017, and this new carbon has demonstrated enhanced removal of PFAS. Because of this success, city staff propose to transition all of its filters to this new type of carbon in FY19.’

Page said GAC removes the most PFAS when it is newest, and its capacity to do so decreases with the age of the carbon.

‘The city currently replaces media in 20% of its filters every year. To further increase PFAS removal, the city is proposing to accelerate the media replacement schedule to approximately 50% yearly, after all of the media is replaced in FY19,’ Page wrote. ‘City staff believe that changing the media type and frequency of replacement will enable the city to reduce the amount of PFAS in the city’s drinking water to below prospective advisory and/or regulatory levels.’ …

Ann Arbor has measurable levels of PFAS in both its source water coming from Barton Pond on the Huron River and its drinking water that’s delivered to roughly 125,000 customers in the city and surrounding areas in Scio and Ann Arbor townships.

City leaders say the extensive media attention surrounding the issue has resulted in numerous inquiries from residents regarding measures the city is taking to address PFAS in the drinking water…

Steglitz said the highest level of PFOS and PFOA detected in the city’s drinking water to date is still the 43 ppt from 2014.

The average level of those two chemicals was 7.2 ppt in 2017, and 3.2 in 2018 from January through August…

The Huron River Watershed Council is inviting residents to attend a community-focused discussion on the emerging threat of PFAS and the overall health of the Huron River next week.

The meeting takes place from 7 to 8:30 p.m. Oct. 4 at the Milford Civic Center, 1100 Atlantic St. in Milford, and is expected to feature a mix of local and state officials, as well as HRWC staff, with time for audience questions and answers. The meeting is being presented by the HRWC, the village of Milford, Milford Township and Wixom.”