PFAS – What are we doing? What you need to know?
PFAS has been in the headlines lately, with questions and concerns about potential issues at a number of locations across Michigan. While PFAS have not been detected in Genesee County’s water supply, it is important for residents to be knowledgeable on the issue, and up-to-date on testing we have completed for our water supply region.
What is PFAS?
PFAS is an abbreviation for per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances. PFASs encompass a wide-range of man-made chemicals that contain a carbon and fluorine atom backbone. There are hundreds of known PFAS compounds, which can include other elements such as oxygen, hydrogen, or sulfur.
PFAS compounds came into common use in the 1950s and 1960s and are now used in hundreds of industrial processes and consumer products. They are generally used due to their resistance to heat, water, and oil. Consumers may be exposed to PFASs in non-stick cookware, grease-resistant paper, fast food wrappers, microwave popcorn bags, stain-resistant carpets and fabrics, water-resistant clothing, cleaning products, and personal care products.
PFASs are also used in industrial processes and, notably, in firefighting foams. PFASs are a component of many of the firefighting foams used by the military, airport authorities, and local fire and rescue agencies. It is these foams that are most often implicated when PFAS is found in groundwater or in the environment.
Is PFAS a problem in Genesee County’s Water Supply?
The short answer…NO.
The source water used in Genesee County’s water supply comes from Lake Huron. This source water was recently tested for PFAS in April, and the existence of PFAS was not detected.
Here are the actual results.
The Genesee County Water System, in conjunction with the DEQ, will remain vigilant regarding PFAS testing. The DEQ has contracted an outside, independent testing facility to collect samples from nearly 1300 communities in Michigan. These tests include locations within our water system. Testing will be completed by December 2018, with the results available to the public.
PFAS sites in Genesee County
While PFAS has not been detected in Genesee County’s water supply, or source water, two PFAS sites have been detected in Genesee County. These sites DO NOT affect or come into contact with the water we supply to residents. The two sites in question are the Flint Coldwater Road Landfill, where PFAS has been detected in the ground water, and a location near the Gilkey Creek. The Gilkey Creek is a tributary of the Flint River. The two sites are located on the map below, which lists all known PFAS locations across Michigan.
Where to go for more information?
For more information on PFAS in Michigan, and what is being done to address the issue, you can visit the DEQ website at the link below.