Read the full article by Ryan Boldrey (MLive)

“PORTAGE, MI — Routine quarterly testing of the city’s municipal water, conducted by the state, turned up a low level of fluoro-chemical contamination in one of the city’s wells.

According to a news release from the city, the 2020 first quarter testing results show that samples from a Portage municipal well tested above non-detect levels for per-and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) at 16 parts per trillion (ppt).

The state has been regularly testing the well since 2018 when it first tested at 13 ppt.

PFAS are a family of thousands of synthetic chemicals used in nonstick and waterproof products and firefighting foam. Exposure to the chemicals has been linked to health problems like cancer and autoimmune disease. They have been nicknamed ‘forever chemicals’ because the compounds resist breaking down in the environment.

The quarterly results of 16 ppt are well below EPA lifetime health advisory levels of 70 ppt — which applies only to the combination of the two PFAS compounds PFOA and PFOS.

The EPA health advisory level is set to protect even the most sensitive populations with a margin of protection from a lifetime of exposure from the two PFAS compounds in drinking water. A lifetime of exposure of anything below that standard is not expected to cause harm, according to the agency.

City Manager Joe La Margo said, as part of the federal Safe Drinking Water Act, the city’s water supply has been tested routinely by the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy (EGLE) since 2013.

In 2018, the first time results showed traces of PFAS, the city had one well in its 20-well field test at 13 ppt and another at 2 ppt, La Margo said.

The state, which was testing all wells across the state that served at least 10,000 customers, determined at that point to only continuously test wells over that tested over 10 ppt, La Margo said.

In the first three quarters of 2019, the well tested at 13 ppt and, in the final quarter, results showed levels of PFAS to be 14 ppt. And while the testing in the first quarter of 2020 resulted in a slightly higher level of PFAS, La Margo said Portage residents should not be concerned…”