Read the full article by Garret Ellison
“The more we look, the more we find.
In 2018, the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality began searching for the chemicals in all public water systems and schools on private well water. To date, the chemicals have been found at some level in the municipal drinking water nearly 1.9 million people around the state.
Contamination sites are found in both the upper and lower peninsulas of Michigan; in urban, suburban and rural settings alike. Pollution sources include chemical-based firefighting foam used by military bases, airports and fire departments, as well as industrial chemicals previously or currently used by active manufacturers and either put into lakes and rivers via wastewater or dumped at waste disposal sites.
The chemicals have been found in groundwater, surface water bodies like lakes and rivers, as well as the Great Lakes — and in drinking water pulled from each source type…
Below are municipal water systems with a Total PFAS detection number in parts-per-trillion (ppt). Total PFAS is the sum of all PFAS compounds in any given sample. The measure encompasses other PFAS compounds besides the well-known PFOS and PFOA.
The majority of results are below the Environmental Protection Agency lifetime health advisory level of 70-ppt for PFOA and PFOA exposure in drinking water. However, the adequacy of that threshold has been the focus of significant debate since the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) published a draft report in June suggesting the EPA level is seven to 10 times too high.
As of Oct. 29, the collective number of people drinking from water systems on this list totals 1,915,700, according to the Michigan DEQ. That’s about 20 percent of the state’s population. Most detections are in finished drinking water, but some results are from samples taken of raw, untreated water.
Some systems are exploring granular activated carbon (GAC) to remove the chemicals. Plainfield Township installed a GAC system in 2018. Ann Arbor is considering doing the same. Other systems, like Plainwell, Independence Township and Sparta, have shut down contaminated wells.
To see the state’s data, click here.
** This list will be updated as data returns for more systems
** Some locales on this list are explained in more detail below
Ann Arbor: 39
Plainfield Township: 22
Grand Haven: 20.3 (follow-up test is non-detect)
Independence Township: 10
St. Clair: 7.2
Marine City: 5.6
New Baltimore: 4.7
Ira Township: 4.3
Huron Shores Regional Utility Authority (Tawas & Oscoda): 4.2
St. Clair County Water & Sewer Authority: 4
Waterford Township: 4
Frenchtown Township: 4
Muskegon Heights: 4
Port Huron: 3.5
Saginaw-Midland Municipal Water Supply Corp. (Saginaw, Bay City, Midland): 3
Mount Clemens: 2.7
Grand Rapids: 2
South Haven: 2
St. Joseph: 2
New Buffalo: 2
Lake Charter Township: 2
Sherman Township: 2
Richmond Township: 2
Hillsdale: 2 ”
**see full article for more information**