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Michigan moves forward on drinking water standards for PFAS

The Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (EGLE) announced today it is moving forward with formal rule making on limits for certain PFAS compounds in drinking water following a review of the draft regulations by Gov. Gretchen Whitmer. Earlier this year, the governor directed EGLE and the Michigan PFAS Action Response Team (MPART) to develop drinking water standards for PFAS contaminants.

"Cleaning up drinking water and protecting public health is a top priority for me and my administration,” Whitmer said. "We can no longer wait for the federal government to act, which is why I directed EGLE to establish PFAS drinking water standards to protect Michiganders. Moving forward with the rulemaking process moves us one step closer toward building public confidence and achieving real solutions that ensure every Michigander can safely bathe their kids and give them a glass of water at the dinner table."

The draft rules cover seven forms of PFAS. Roughly 2,700 public water system operators around the state would be covered under the new rule.

Members of the multi-agency Michigan PFAS Action Response Team voted last month in favor of EGLE proceeding to establish Maximum Contaminant Levels (MCLs) for seven types of PFAS based on the MPART Science Advisory Workgroup’s recommended health-based values:

Draft Regulations for PFAS MCL
Specific PFAS Drinking Water MCL
PFNA 6 ng/L (ppt)
PFOA 8 ng/L (ppt)
PFHxA 400,000 ng/L (ppt)
PFOS 16 ng/L (ppt)
PFHxS 51 ng/L (ppt)
PFBS 420 ng/L (ppt)
GenX 370 ng/L (ppt)


“This is an important milestone for the safety of Michigan’s drinking water,” EGLE Director Liesl Clark said. “These draft regulations represent the input from a diverse group of stakeholders who helped us shape regulations that are practical, science-driven and, most importantly, protective of public health. Here in Michigan, we remain committed to working together to root out PFAS contamination, protect at-risk populations and drive down exposure levels.”

The draft rule will follow the Administrative Rules Process handled by the Environmental Rules Review Committee, Michigan Office of Administrative Hearings and Rules, and Joint Committee on Administrative Rules. The rule also will be subject to a public comment period beginning in late 2019. A final rule could be adopted by April 2020.

Known to scientists as per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, PFAS are a group of emerging and potentially harmful contaminants used in thousands of applications globally including firefighting foam, food packaging and many other consumer products. These compounds also are used by industries such as tanneries, metal platers and clothing manufacturers.