Bill would set PFAS standard in Michigan

Plainfield Township, Wolverine Worldwide, waste site
The site of an old Wolverine Worldwide waste site off House Street in Plainfield Township. (Aug. 30, 2017)


GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — Legislation proposed by a state representative from Grand Rapids would set Michigan’s standard for PFAS-related chemicals in drinking water far below the federal advisory limit.

State Rep. Winnie Brinks, D-Grand Rapids, has proposed setting the state standard at 5 parts per trillion. The Environmental Protection Agency’s advisory limit for PFAS is 70 ppt. The state doesn’t currently have a standard.

The chemical, a likely carcinogen that has also been linked to other illnesses, is at the center of a toxic tap water crisis in Belmont, north of Grand Rapids. It has also been found at several other sites in the state.

>>Inside woodtv.com: Complete coverage of the toxic tap water investigation

Brinks’ bill, House Bill 5375, was introduced Wednesday and referred to the Committee on Natural Resources.

“The state has an obligation to protect public health, and that includes making sure that our drinking water is clean. It’s an obligation that requires immediate action before the health of even one more person is compromised, as we’ve seen happen in Flint already. It’s obvious that Michigan needs better standards when it comes to regulating the presence of hazardous chemicals in our drinking water,” Brinks said in a statement announcing the legislation.

The bill’s cosponsors are all Democrats from the east side of the state, with the exception of Rep. Jon Hoadley, a Democrat from Kalamazoo. None of the representatives for the area in Plainfield and Algoma townships currently dealing with contamination are currently cosponsors.

Brinks, who does not represent the Kent County affected areas, previously called for a House Oversight Committee hearing on the Wolverine contamination; there has not been word on whether that will actually happen.

The governor has created a task force to coordinate PFAS response across the state.

RESOURCES FOR BELMONT RESIDENTS:

If you are eligible for a whole-house water filtration system from Wolverine Worldwide, you can call 616.866.5627 or email HouseStreet@wwwinc.com.

The Michigan Department of Environmental Quality Environmental Assistance Center can be reached at 1.800.662.9278.

Websites with additional information on the contamination: