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Governor Whitmer visits state employees at EGLE laboratory and tours new PFAS testing addition

September 16, 2019

Governor Whitmer talks with EGLE staffers at the lab.

Governor Gretchen Whitmer thanked the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (EGLE) laboratory employees for their contributions to protecting public health and the environment during a visit to the lab on September 10.

"People don't go into civil service to make a fortune or to see their name in lights," Whitmer told staff, "but because they are called to serve others."

The EGLE laboratory, located in Lansing, tests surface water, groundwater, wastewater, air, sediment, and soil for the department and various industry partners. In addition, the lab is gearing up to test drinking water for per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), a group of man-made chemicals that is an emerging contaminant in Michigan, starting this fall.

Whitmer toured the new PFAS addition to the lab, where scientists gave her an overview of PFAS analysis. The analysis begins with a drinking water sample taken by the customer, which is then mailed in or dropped off at the EGLE laboratory.

The sample is prepped for analysis by passing the water through an extraction cartridge that works like a specialized filter, holding onto the PFAS analytes of interest, if present. When all the water has passed through the cartridge, the analytes are removed from the cartridge using methanol. The concentrated extract is then analyzed on a liquid chromatography tandem mass spectrometry analyzer (LC/MS/MS). The EGLE laboratory has successfully completed multiple rounds of split sampling with another laboratory, verifying the accuracy of the equipment and methods. The extraction, analysis, and data review are conducted by a specialized team of scientists in the laboratory.

The EGLE laboratory has partnered with the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) in some sampling efforts, while the laboratory continues to develop additional PFAS testing capabilities. Samples from a surface water source were recently sent to the DHHS laboratory and the treated drinking water was sent to the EGLE laboratory for PFAS analysis. Results from the EGLE laboratory's analysis showed that very low levels of PFAS compounds were present in the treated drinking water.

The EGLE laboratory is the state of Michigan's principal laboratory for drinking water testing compliance, under the Safe Drinking Water Act helping to protect public health. It supports the state’s response to emergencies, such as the Enbridge oil spill, Flint water crisis, and state of emergency declarations for counties from flooding or other disasters. It also supports the remediation and redevelopment of Michigan's contaminated properties.

For more information about EGLE's laboratory services, visit its website.

Do you want to submit drinking water samples to the EGLE laboratory for testing? Make sure you have updated forms and bottle kits to receive your results in a timely, hassle-free manner.

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