Michigan steps closer to PFAS standards for drinking water
By Sheri McWhirter | Traverse City Record Eagle | September 28, 2019
Read full article by Sheri McWhirter (Traverse City Record Eagle)
“TRAVERSE CITY — State officials took another step toward enforceable regulations for PFAS levels in public drinking water.
The Michigan PFAS Action Response Team unanimously voted Friday to draft rules founded on the health-based values recommended by a science advisory work group nearly three months ago. It’s the latest step toward state standards Gov. Gretchen Whitmer ordered be developed rather than await federal rules…
Eric Oswald, director of EGLE’s drinking water and environmental health division, said state officials are on schedule to meet Whitmer’s Oct. 1 deadline for draft regulations.
The proposed rules outline how public water supply compliance will be based on annual average PFAS levels based on quarterly sampling, and there is a public notice requirement for failures, Oswald said.
Additionally, he said the proposed rules would not apply to private residential water wells, nor to locations that don’t provide long-term water supplies such as small businesses, campgrounds, highway rest areas and the like.
Oswald said EGLE officials will present the draft PFAS drinking water regulations to the agency’s Environmental Rules Review Committee on Oct. 3 and the members of that group are scheduled to vote Oct. 31 about whether to sign off on the ongoing rule-making process so it can continue. Should that happen, he said public hearings will begin to be scheduled in November or December.
Steve Sliver, MPART’s executive director, said this whole process is unusual because normally Michigan officials adopt standards set by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Those are slow in coming…
Minnesota, New Jersey and New York have lower established or proposed thresholds for PFOS at 15 ppt, 13 ppt and 10 ppt, respectively. But Michigan stands to have the lowest numbers for PFOA at 8 ppt and PFNA at 6 ppt, should those recommendation levels be finalized.
The recommended PFAS levels weren’t approved for continued rule-making without some dispute during Friday’s MPART meeting.
Anna Reade, staff scientist with the nonprofit Natural Resources Defense Council, spoke about that organization’s recommendation that Michigan officials reconsider a treatment-based water standard for drinking water systems with detectable PFAS. Instead, it’s preferred a focus be placed on treatments that would affect broader numbers of PFAS chemicals, of which there are thousands…
The NRDC scientist and another official from that group submitted to MPART a letter that made those arguments, also signed by two Sierra Club officials.
Liz Kirkwood, executive director of Traverse City-based nonprofit For Love of Water, said she agrees with officials from those environmental nonprofits about rules being needed for the entire class of PFAS chemicals.
‘The health-based values the state derived through scientific work is important but doesn’t fully recognize class-based regulation and the cumulative effects of multiple PFAS chemicals over a lifetime of exposure,’ she said…
More information about PFAS in Michigan and the state’s response is available at www.michigan.gov/pfasresponse online.”
This content provided by the PFAS Project.