Businesses discharging PFAS into Michigan’s waterways


Michigan businesses are discharging high levels of PFAS that move into the state’s waterways on a daily basis.

An MLive investigation found that manufacturing sources are sending one version of the "forever chemicals" at up to 20,000 times the allowed amount into wastewater systems that discharge it into the state’s lakes, rivers and, ultimately, threatening drinking water supplies for millions of people.

That comes as much of the state’s focus for PFAS has been on former factories, military bases and fire-fighting foam – along with testing municipal drinking water sources around the state.

Dozens of documents obtained by MLive using the Freedom of Information Act show that state officials found 18 municipal wastewater treatment plants discharging excessive levels of PFOS. The chemical is one type of toxic per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, or PFAS, that is prevalent in industry and the one with the most rigorous cleanup standard.

The investigation offers the first glimpse into quantifying how much PFOS is moving in high concentrations from dozens of manufacturers across the state into the wastewater plants, none of which can filter out the stubbornly robust chemicals.

As a result, the inflow is putting numerous plants […]

More about PFAS and PFOS contamination:

Firefighting foam linked to water contamination across Massachusetts

EPA’s chemical decision worries Republicans

‘Astronomical’ PFAS level sets new Michigan contamination milestone

PFAS1 found in drinking water wells in unexpected places

‘What did we do?’ Families anxious about chemicals found in tap water

Michigan sets limit for chemical contaminants in water

Rhode Island is checking water for chemical contamination — PFCs, PFOA, PFOS

Businesses discharging PFAS into Michigan's waterways
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Businesses discharging PFAS into Michigan's waterways
Sources send one of the "forever chemicals," at up to 20,000 times the allowed amount, into wastewater systems that discharge it into public water supplies.
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