New PFAS standards to go into effect in August

Jul 24, 2020

New standards from how much toxic chemicals will be allowed in Michigan’s drinking water will soon go into effect after a regulation committee this week adjourned.

It’s been three years since the discovery of toxic polyfluorinated alkyl chemicals, commonly known as PFAS and PFOA in the private drinking water wells of a number of homes in the Rockford and Plainfield Township areas.

New rules for firefighting foam containing PFAS

Jul 13, 2020
Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy of Michigan

Michigan firefighters have new rules for when they use firefighting foam containing industrial chemicals known as PFAS. 

Governor Gretchen Whitmer signed legislation this week that requires local fire departments not to use PFAS in training drills and to report any other use of the firefighting foam within 48 hours.   

Jeff Roberts is the president of the Michigan Association of Fire Chiefs.   

“It does add another layer.  But I don’t see it as a bad regulation.”

Chrisklee18 via Wikimedia | CC BY 3.0 /

Fire departments that use a foam containing a group of chemicals known as PFAS would be required to report its use within 48 hours of ending a fire under legislation sent to Gov. Gretchen Whitmer. The bill won unanimous approval from the Michigan House Tuesday. It would mandate that fire chiefs report incidents in which PFAS-containing firefighting foams are used to Michigan's pollution emergency alert system.

Chemical barrels containing PFAS

More than 30,000 gallons (113,562 liters) of liquids containing so-called “forever chemicals” have been collected under a Michigan disposal program, officials said.

The amount, which was collected in less than a year, contain perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances, or PFAS, said Steve Sliver, executive director of the Michigan PFAS Action Response Team.

PFAS are known as “forever chemicals” because they persist indefinitely in the environment without breaking down.

Chemical barrels containing PFAS

A Michigan panel has endorsed drinking water standards designed to reduce exposure to a group of nonstick, water-resistant chemicals. The proposed rules would apply to seven compounds in a broad category known as PFAS. The substances are used in many household and industrial products, from food wrappings to clothing and firefighting foam. The limits won approval Thursday from a stakeholder committee established in 2018 to review draft environmental regulations.


It was Wolverine Worldwide’s disposal of toxic chemicals nearly 60 years ago that contaminated the private drinking water wells of hundreds of homes in Plainfield and Algoma Township. The discovery of polyflourinated chemicals, commonly referred to as PFAS, made national news and outraged homeowners, many who had been drinking the water for years. 

Water faucet photo
Public domain image /

Michigan on Tuesday sued 3M, DuPont and other companies for financial damages from contamination caused by potentially harmful “forever” chemicals that are turning up in drinking water across the industrial state. The lawsuitfiled in state court alleges that 17 defendants deliberately concealed the dangers of a class of substances known collectively as PFAS. The filing, announced by state Attorney General Dana Nessel and Gov. Grethen Whitmer, came a year-and-a-half after former Gov. Rick Snyder first stated Michigan’s intent to sue Minnesota-based 3M and other unnamed parties.

Chemical barrels containing PFAS


As environmental officials hope to soon set an enforceable limit on the level of PFAS allowed in drinking water, the state of Michigan is seeking the public’s input on the matter. According to a release, “The Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy, Drinking Water and Environmental Health Division will hold this week the first of three hearings to receive public comments on proposed rules to establish maximum contaminant levels for seven per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, known as PFAS in drinking water.”


A $1 Million dollar grant has been awarded for West Michigan to study the long term health affects of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, commonly referred to as PFAS. U.S. Senator Gary Peters of Michigan Tuesday announced the  grant from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry to conduct how PFAS is affecting West Michigan resident’s health.

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 Annis Water Resources Institute's Dr Alan Steinman joins TMS to talk about holding juvenile sturgeon at AWRI, plus a PFAS in Michigan panel.