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Strict standards for PFAs in drinking water pass Michigan Legislature

Posted at 9:14 PM, Jul 22, 2020

LANSING, Mich. — Michigan will be adopting some of the strictest rules in the nation limiting PFAS contamination in drinking water after passing a final oversight step, the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy announced Wednesday.

Seven PFAS chemicals in drinking water will be limited and will cover roughly 2,700 public water supplies around the state and exceed the current US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) guidance on the chemicals.

PFAS are a group of potentially harmful contaminants found in materials like firefighting foam, food packaging and many other consumer products. They're also are used by industries such as tanneries, metal platers and clothing manufacturers.

The new regulations are expected to become official Aug. 3 and will provide drinking water standards for public water systems to achieve, officials said.

They also have an immediate effect on Michigan’s existing groundwater clean-up criteria of 70 ppt for PFOS and PFOA. The new groundwater standard will be 8 ppt for PFOA and 16 ppt for PFOS.

“All Michiganders deserve to know that we’re prioritizing their health and are continuing to work every day to protect the water coming out of their taps,” Gov. Gretchen Whitmer said. “Michigan is once again leading the way nationally in fighting PFAS contamination by setting our own science-based drinking water standard.”

A 2018 sampling program found that 30 public water systems have total PFAS results of 10 ppt or higher.

State agencies will assist public water systems to bring their water into compliance over the next several months, officials said.

Whitmer launched the process for passing the regulations in March 2019.