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Drinking Water and Wells

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Drinking Water and Wells

Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) are a large group of man-made chemicals that include perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) and perfluorooctanesulfonic acid (PFOS). PFAS have been used globally during the past century in manufacturing, firefighting and thousands of common household and other consumer products such as but not limited to:

  • water and stain repellent products,
  • non-stick pots and pans
  • personal care products (e.g. cosmetics, lotions),
  • insect repellants and sunscreens,
  • food packaging wrappers

PFAS chemicals are persistent in the environment and in the human body - meaning they don't break down and they can accumulate over time. In recent years, experts have become increasingly concerned by the potential effects of high concentrations of PFAS on human health.  PFAS move easily through the ground and may get into groundwater that is used for some water supplies or for private drinking water wells. When spilled into lakes or rivers used as sources of drinking water, they can get into drinking water supplies.

Maximum Contaminant Levels (MCLs)

Drinking water rules were amended to include PFAS MCLs, establishing sampling requirements for these seven PFAS compounds in public water supplies covered under the Michigan Safe Drinking Water Act.

Private residential wells are not regulated under the Michigan Safe Drinking Water Act, but Michigan uses the MCLs along with other factors when evaluating private residential well results.

Public Drinking Water

Approximately 75% of Michigan residents get water from a public water supply. If you receive a water bill, your water likely comes from a public water supply. 

Private Residential Wells 

Approximately 25% of Michigan residents get water from a private residential well. If you do not pay for water, you are likely on a private well.

Michigan is working hard to find and investigate sources of PFAS contamination that may be impacting private wells in Michigan.  EGLE works with local units of government and MPART agencies to evaluate which homes need to be sampled in areas where residents are using private drinking water wells that could be impacted from a nearby PFAS source.  Residents are contacted by phone or mail requesting permission to sample drinking water from their well. 

If you want to collect your own drinking water sample, visit our Home Sampling Guidance page.

Need help understanding your test results? You can call the MDHHS Environmental Health Hotline at 800-648-6942 to review your water test results with a toxicologist. They can help you understand any potential risks and advise on next steps based on your results