Testing shows water safe at 3 Rockford elementary schools, superintendent says

Posted at 2:48 PM, Nov 15, 2017

ROCKFORD, Mich. — Water test results for three Rockford elementary schools shows “there is no public health risk,” according to Superintendent Dr. Mike Shibler.

Cannonsburg Elementary, Crestwood Elementary and Lakes Elementary had their water sources tested as a precautionary measure after officials recently found PFAS in local water sources.

The levels at the schools “ranged from 0.891 ppt through 1.25 ppt, well below the levels established by the Environmental Protection Agency Life Time Health Advisory Level of 70 ppt,” Dr. Shibler said in a letter sent to parents on Wednesday.

The three schools and East Rockford Middle School operate off well water, while the other nine schools in the district use municipal water.  Earlier testing at East Rockford Middle School revealed that the water there was safe as well.

The wells were tested after concerns of contamination from an old dumping site for the former Wolverine tannery in Rockford.  The dump site has been closed for several years.

Dozens of other sites are being tested for possible PFAS contamination around the area.  Wolverine Worldwide has set up a blog for residents to follow along with updates on the situation.

Here is the full letter sent Wednesday by Dr. Shibler:

Dear RPS families, community, and staff:

This morning, in a meeting with officials from the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) and the Kent County Health Department (KCHD), I received Per- and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances (PFAS) – water quality testing results for the well water samples from Cannonsburg, Crestwood, and Lakes Elementary Schools.

I have been advised that there is no public health risk. The MDHHS (Michigan Department of Health and Human Services) “concludes that no apparent public health hazard exists and no immediate additional work is needed at these locations.”  Also the DEQ concluded that there are no known or suspected PFAS sources in the area surrounding Cannonsburg, Crestwood, and Lakes Elementary Schools. The testing was done out of an abundance of caution.

The instrumentation used to test our samples is extremely sensitive and, because the equipment is so sensitive, it can detect trace levels of the PFOA and PFOS compounds.

The levels at Cannonsburg, Crestwood, Lakes Elementary Schools ranged from 0.891 ppt through 1.25 ppt, well below the levels established by the Environmental Protection Agency Life Time Health Advisory Level of 70 ppt.

Again, we requested these samples as a precautionary measure and are informing you of the results.  We will voluntarily test our wells annually and publish the results on our website.

If you have questions or concerns about the water issue in general, you may wish to attend a town hall meeting hosted by the Kent County Health Department on Wednesday, November 29 at 6 p.m. at the Rockford Freshman Center.  Officials from several agencies will be available prior to and during the meeting starting at 4:30 p.m. to address specific concerns.  Arrangements are pending to provide a live feed of the meeting, and information will be posted on the KCHD website.

As always, please let me know if you have any questions.  I wish you and your family a Happy Thanksgiving.

Dr. Mike Shibler

Superintendent of Schools