EGLE updates PFAS cleanup standards, adding five new compounds

Date:  December 21, 2020  
Time: All Day Event

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
December 21, 2020
EGLE Media Office, EGLE-Assist@Michigan.gov, 517-284-9278

The Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (EGLE) announced today that it has updated its cleanup criteria for groundwater used as drinking water to include five new PFAS compounds, bringing the total number of PFAS regulated in groundwater to seven.

Effective today, PFNA, PFHxS, PFHxA, PFBS, and HFPO-DA (also known as GenX) will join PFOS and PFOA as regulated compounds under Part 201 of the Natural Resources and Environmental Protection Act (NREPA). Part 201 is Michigan's primary environmental cleanup program and provides the regulatory framework for most contaminated sites in the state.

The residential and nonresidential drinking water generic cleanup criteria are as follows:

PFAS

CAS Registry Number

Drinking Water MCL 
(ppt)

Generic Cleanup Criteria
(ppb)

Perfluorononanoic acid (PFNA) 375-95-1 6 0.006
Perfluorohexane sulfonic acid (PFHxS) 355-46-4 51

0.051

Perfluorohexanoic acid (PFHxA) 307-24-4 400,000 400
Perfluorobutane sulfonic acid (PFBS) 375-73-5 420 0.420
Hexafluoropropylene oxide dimer acid (HFPO-DA) 13252-13-6 370 0.370

 

These new cleanup criteria values correspond with the maximum contaminant levels (MCL) for municipal drinking water that EGLE adopted in August 2020. For drinking water, the PFAS levels are typically expressed in parts per trillion (ppt), whereas the groundwater cleanup values are typically expressed in parts per billion (ppb).

In January 2018 Michigan, using data from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency health advisory for drinking water, established a groundwater cleanup criteria for PFOS and PFOA of 70 ppt (0.070 ppb) individually or combined. That criteria was automatically reduced to 0.008 ppb (8 ppt) for PFOA and 0.016 ppb (16 ppt) for PFOS with the establishment of municipal drinking water standards for PFAS.

“Scientific evidence supports designating these PFAS as hazardous substances due to their potential to pose unacceptable risks to public health and the environment,” said Mike Neller, director of EGLE’s Remediation and Redevelopment Division. “These five PFAS, as documented during EGLE’s development of state drinking water standards, have the ability to cause adverse health effects. Therefore, it is appropriate for us to identify these PFAS as hazardous substances under Part 201.”

The legal basis for development of the generic cleanup criteria is derived from Section 20120a (23) of Part 201. This provision allows the department to determine that a substance not listed in the generic cleanup criteria tables is a hazardous substance using best available information about toxicological and physical-chemical properties of the substance, and to use that information to develop a generic criterion. The new criteria developed pursuant to these provisions takes immediate effect on Dec. 21, 2020, and will remain effective and enforceable throughout the Administrative Procedure Act rulemaking process.

“EGLE received a number of comments regarding the rulemaking process,” Neller added. “While we appreciate many of the concerns raised, there is no possible resolution to these concerns that would allow their consideration without unlawfully deviating from the strict process prescribed in statute and rule under Part 201. As directed by Section 20120a (5) of Part 201, these criteria must be the same as the state drinking water standards that were promulgated in August.”

Known to scientists as per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, PFAS are a group of chemical contaminants used in thousands of applications globally including firefighting foam, food packaging and many other consumer products, and exposure to PFAS is correlated with several harmful and serious health effects. These compounds also are used by industries such as tanneries, metal platers and clothing manufacturers.

To learn more about PFAS, visit the Michigan PFAS Action Response Team website: Michigan.gov/PFASResponse

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