The web Browser you are currently using is unsupported, and some features of this site may not work as intended. Please update to a modern browser such as Chrome, Firefox or Edge to experience all features Michigan.gov has to offer.
Sampling in Lakes and Streams
Sampling in Lakes and Streams
The Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (EGLE) Water Resources Division (WRD) collects surface water samples from Michigan’s lakes and streams for PFAS analysis to identify potential sources of contamination. EGLE and the Michigan Department of Natural Resource (MDNR) collect fish for contaminant analysis to assist the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) in identifying where fish consumption advisories are needed.
The results of the WRD’s monitoring efforts are shared within MPART’s Surface Water Workgroup, which consists of representatives from EGLE, MDHHS, and MDNR. These results play a large role in the identification of sources causing elevated fish, surface water, point source, and/or drinking water PFAS concentrations and the development of public health advisories. As new discharges and detections come to light, EGLE’s WRD mobilizes staff to collect surface water and fish tissue samples for contaminant analysis. The WRD staff also work with the responsible entities to reduce usage of PFAS and treat PFAS on-site.
EGLE first analyzed PFAS in surface water in 2001 when 21 Michigan streams were sampled for perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) and perfluorooctanesulfonic acid (PFOS). The study found varying levels of both substances, but the concentrations were not considered to be a problem based on what was known about PFAS at the time.
In 2011, EGLE WRD found concentrations of PFOS as high as 9,580 parts per billion (ppb) in fish collected near Oscoda. This sampling effort resulted in MDHHS issuing a “Do Not Eat” advisory for all fish species from Clark’s Marsh and several species of fish from the Au Sable River near the former Wurtsmith Air Force Base in Oscoda. Visit MDHHS’ Eat Safe Fish website for more information regarding these advisories.
The discovery of the high levels of PFOS in the Oscoda area fish prompted a more intensive statewide sampling of Michigan’s large rivers in 2013 and 2014. The results of this reconnaissance study indicated several rivers had detectable levels of PFOS in surface water and/or fish tissue.
EGLE's WRD has since conducted numerous targeted PFAS sampling efforts to monitor rivers and lakes used as drinking water sources and to help identify sources of PFAS in other watersheds, with staff sampling 4-5 watersheds per year. For more information on these efforts, please visit the MPART Surface Water Workgroup page.
Surface Water Workgroup
The Surface Water Workgroup uses surface water and fish tissue samples to locate sources of PFAS contamination, evaluate treatment to reduce PFAS levels, and develop fish consumption advisories.
PFOS in fish
PFAS is the family of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances. One of the most commonly detected substances is perfluorooctanesulfonic acid (PFOS), in part because it bioaccumulates, or builds up, in fish.
Foam on lakes and streams
Watersheds sampled for PFAS
Au Sable River Watershed
Clinton River Lake St Clair Watershed
Ecorse River Watershed
Escanaba River Watershed
Flint River Watershed
Grand River Watershed
Huron River Watershed
- December 2020: Huron River Watershed Regan Drain Sampling Update
- November 2020: Huron River Watershed Regan Drain Sampling Update
- September 2020: Huron River Watershed June - August 2020 Surface Water Sampling Status Update
- July 2020: Investigation of the Occurrence and Source(s) of Per- and Polyfluorinated Substances (PFAS) in the Huron River Watershed Using Polar Organic Chemical Integrative Samplers (POCIS)
- February 2019: Investigation of the Occurrence and Source(s) of PFAS in the Huron River Watershed
Kalamazoo River Watershed
Keweenaw Peninsula Region
Macatawa River Watershed
River Raisin Watershed
Rouge River Watershed
Saginaw River Watershed
Shiawassee River Watershed
St Joseph River Watershed