Oct 30, 2018

High PFAS Levels Detected at Ottawa County, Mich., Elementary School

This marks the second highest overall emerging contaminants detection at a Michigan school

Emerging contaminants discovered at Ottawa County, Mich., school
Emerging contaminants discovered at Ottawa County, Mich., school

In Ottawa County, Mich., high levels of per- and polyfluoralkyl substances (PFAS) have been discovered in the drinking water at a Grand Haven district elementary school. Testing found a combined level of perfluorooctanesulfonic acid (PFOS) and perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) at 110 ppt in the drinking water at Robinson Elementary School, according to a letter the district sent to parents Oct. 29.

Since the discovery, the district quickly shut off drinking water fountains at the school and provided an initial 600 bottles of water, with another 33,000 bottles on the way. The district said that lunches for the 300 preschool to fourth grade students are made at Grand Haven High School, which tested for low PFAS levels in August, as reported by local news source MLive.

The Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ) is retesting the water at Robinson Elementary School to confirm the initial results, but the drinking water will remain shut off in the meantime as the initial results were well above the U.S. EPa health advisory level of 70 ppt. According to Ottawa County, total PFAS was 144 ppt in the well where contamination was detected.

“There’s always concern when it’s someone’s health, especially with children, so we’re being very proactive and making sure that we are taking the measures possible to have safe drinking water for our kids and residents,” said Kristina Wieghmink for the Ottawa County Department of Public Health.

This latest Robinson school detection marks the highest level of individual compound PFOS detected in Michigan, and the second highest overall total PFAS level found in a Michigan school to date, as reported by Michigan Public Radio.