Read the full article by William Perkins

“WALLOON LAKE — State test results show one water source in the Walloon Lake Water System had 19 parts per trillion of PFAS when tested in August.

That’s the highest concentration of the substance in any Emmet or Charlevoix County source so far, although it still fails to meet a couple of state and federal prerequisites which would require government action.

The results became available this week on the Michigan PFAS Action Response Team (MPART) website, and are part of a statewide effort to manage the presence of perfluoroalkyls, a family of synthetic chemicals, in Michigan’s water sources.

The state’s testing results show two samples were taken from the Walloon Lake Water System on Aug. 29. One of those samples shows only two parts per trillion of PFAS, the other 19.

According to the state’s data, the water system serves 579 households. Dennis Hass, director of the utility, did not respond to requests for comment Thursday morning or afternoon.

The results come roughly a week after low levels of PFAS were reported in two Northern Michigan school water supplies: seven parts per trillion at Boyne Falls Public Schools and three parts per trillion at Vanderbilt Area School.

Like those two results, the results from the Walloon Lake Water System are not high enough to merit action from the state.

For one thing, the tests at Walloon Lake did not detect two key types of PFAS: perflourooctanoic acid (PFOA) and perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS), Scott Dean, spokesman for the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality, said in an email to the News-Review. Those are the only two types of PFAS which have a federal- or state-mandated ‘advisory level.’

And even if the types of PFAS present in the Walloon Lake Water System were PFOS or PFOA, the state does not require agencies to take action unless the concentration reaches 70 parts per trillion. That 70 ppt figure is in line with what the federal Environmental Protection Agency deems the lifetime health advisory limit for PFOS or PFOA. It does not designate a lifetime health advisory level for other types of PFAS.

‘Although both the PFOS and PFOA numbers and the total PFAS result are all below the EPA Health Advisory level of 70 ppt, when we see a total PFAS number over 10 ppt we recommend the water system investigates potential sources of PFAS in the watershed and DEQ district staff can assist with that,’ Dean said.

‘We also recommend the water system collect a resample within one month and continue monitoring quarterly for one year.’

According to information on the MPART website, the agency does sometimes advise caution in situations when the PFAS level falls below the EPA limit. For example, officials will sometimes recommend the use of bottled water or filters ‘when we cannot be confident that these chemicals will continue to be at low levels in your well water.’

‘If you have been notified by MDHHS or your local health department that PFAS were found in your well water sample, and that you are near a PFAS source, MDHHS recommends that you do not use your well water for drinking, cooking, making baby formula or food, washing fruits or vegetables, or brushing your teeth, unless your well water is filtered using a system certified to reduce PFOA and PFAS,’ according to the website.”