The District presented the results of its testing for PFAS, or per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, in the local wastewater cycle today. The results were as expected and fall below proposed standards and existing screening levels.
The District takes community concerns about PFAS seriously and is taking action. In the absence of clear state and federal guidance and regulations, we have developed an action plan that builds on the District’s historical success in managing emerging compounds for which treatment is not presently feasible.
The scientific understanding of PFAS in wastewater and biosolids continues to evolve. So the District can respond in an appropriate and cost-effective way, our action plan includes sampling and analysis, as well as a study of how PFAS may move into, out of and through our system.
Given the lack of treatment options available to wastewater treatment plants, source reduction and elimination are the best ways to keep PFAS out of our water, air and soil. The District will work with our industrial permittees, commercial businesses, the public and others to educate them on the issue and identify opportunities for improvement.
We look forward to ongoing dialog about our PFAS work and sharing the results of our efforts. By gathering data specific to our community and integrating up-to-date scientific research, our decision-making will be guided by facts and based on the best available science to ensure we do what’s best for public health and the environment.
Here’s a closer look at what we’re doing.
The PFAS fate & transport review synthesizes the current state-of-science on the fate and transport of PFAS in the environment, within wastewater treatment plants, and on the application of biosolids to agricultural fields. The review focused on peer-reviewed scientific papers, regulatory guidance documents, and fact sheets developed by professional organizations. A conceptual site model was also prepared as part of this review and visually conveys the general fate and transport concepts for PFAS with a focus on wastewater treatment plants.
The District’s environmental consultant, TRC Environmental Corporation, recommended sampling and analysis of wastes for PFAS, and if present, implementing source reduction measures.
Because municipal wastewater treatment plants cannot cost-effectively remove PFAS through treatment within their facilities, source reduction is the best solution currently available to reduce PFAS in liquid effluent and biosolids. Individual industries or users or PFAS can reduce the PFAS in their wastewater through industrial pretreatment or product substitutions.
Yes! When the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (EGLE) required source reduction at confirmed PFAS sources, it led to substantial drops in concentrations (99% in some cases) of PFAS in discharge from municipal wastewater treatment plants.
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