State Works To Get Ahead Of PFAS Problem In Michigan


Jake Neher, WDET

Van Etten Creek in Oscoda, MI. The community of Oscoda has pervasive PFAS contamination.

Anthony Spaniola

PFAS contaminated foam on Van Etten Lake in Oscoda, MI.

State officials say Michigan is leading the nation in research of the pervasiveness of PFAS contaminants in drinking water.

Water advocates, however, say the state and federal government need to be more aggressive with the toxins.

The harmful chemicals are found in fire retardants and water repellents, which have leached into groundwater from manufacturing plants and military bases.

Michigan has adopted a groundwater maximum contamination level of 70 ppt for PFAS, which is in line with the EPA recommendation.

New Jersey adopted a drinking water contamination level of 14 ppt, and Vermont adopted a level of 20 ppt. Some experts say PFAS contamination levels shouldn’t rise above 1 ppt.

The Michigan Department of Environmental Quality is conducting a statewide survey of PFAS in water, and expects to complete the work by the end of the year. 

WDET’s Laura Weber-Davis spoke with DEQ spokesperson Scott Dean about the state’s research.

He says about 75 percent of Michigan’s drinking water will be tested for PFAS by the end of the survey.

To hear the interview, click on the audio player above.


This chart shows MDEQ’s work on testing PFAS levels on Van Etten Lake in Oscoda, MI. The red areas show the size and contamination levels of the groundwater plume.


Image credit: Jake Neher, WDET

This post is a part of Policy Meets the People: MI Voice, MI Vote.

The Policy Meets The People – MI Voice, MI Vote series gives metro Detroiters an opportunity to find out how key legislation, laws and policies created in Lansing affect their daily lives.

About the Author

Laura Weber-Davis

Producer, Detroit Today & Created Equal

Laura is thrilled to be working at Detroit’s legendary public radio station, WDET. Whatever she is doing at this very moment, she’d rather be listening to RadioLab.   Follow @laurawdet

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