The City of Grand Rapids is proud of the high-quality and safe drinking water that we provide our customers every day, and we take this responsibility very seriously. Our customers should be confident in the system’s water quality and safety.
We recently sampled the City water system’s Lake Michigan source water and tap water to parallel similar testing the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality is conducting across the state. Our test results showed that our tap water concentration of PFOS and PFOA are well below the USEPA lifetime health advisory of 70 part per trillion (ppt) established by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and MDEQ as well as regulatory limits being discussed.
Current and Proposed PFAS Levels
Currently, there is no regulatory drinking water standard for PFAS chemicals. In May 2016, the USEPA established a non-regulatory lifetime health advisory (LHA) for two of these chemicals; PFOS and PFOA. The LHA for PFOS and PFOA is 70 ppt combined, or individually if only one of the chemical is present. The State of Michigan has adopted the 70 ppt combined limit as well. The State of Michigan and EPA have PFAS limits of 70 ppt. There are other states and regulatory institutions that are recommending lower limits. We welcome this proactive approach sharing commitment to our community’s health. Check out the current and proposed recommendations here.
History of PFAS Testing in Grand Rapids vs. PFOS
As part of the Unregulated Contaminate Monitoring Rule, the Grand Rapids Water System tested for PFAS-related compounds on four occasions in 2014, 2015, and 2017, and the results were non-detect.
In 2018, and with improved test methods, we mirrored testing conducted by the state. Results were similar to that of the states.
What are the differences in results between the EPA Method 537 & Isotope Dilution Method?
PFAS testing is in its infancy, and we are limited in what the laboratory equipment is able to detect. As testing methods continue to be developed, the reporting limits of these tests have improved. In previous testing using the EPA Method 537, the detection limits were in the 20 ppt to 30 ppt range. Detection limits are now as low as 2 ppt. As laboratories improve methods to better detect these compounds, we will continue to monitor our results and publish them.
What are the next steps?
Our test results showed what was expected: PFAS-related compounds have been in use around Lake Michigan for decades and a very small amount is present. We expect PFAS levels to remain relatively consistent since Lake Michigan is a stable source of water. We will continue to aggressively sample and test our water in accordance with state regulatory requirements and release our results. We also will continue to use the best available methods and technology in our water testing.
If you have any questions about our results, testing or anything related to your water, please contact 311 or (616) 456-3000.
For more on PFAS compounds, tests and other information, visit the State of Michigan’s PFAS Response Team.