News Feature | December 22, 2017

Michigan Township Approves Treatment Solution For PFCs

Peter Chawaga - editor

By Peter Chawaga

michigan.reg

As perflourinated compound (PFC) contamination continues to raise concerns all over the nation, one Michigan community has decided to take action to combat it.

“Plainfield Township is taking steps to remove all flourochemicals from its municipal water supply even though officials say it’s already safe to drink,” Michigan Live reported. “The Township Board voted unanimously … to approve $400,000 in emergency funds to upgrade the water treatment plant to remove per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances named PFAS (or PFCs) found at low levels in township water.”

The community has been dealing with PFAS fallout stemming from contamination by the shoe manufacturer Wolverine World Wide. While the township’s water meets all regulatory requirements, as there aren’t any official limits on PFAS from the U.S. EPA, its water recently tested for PFOS at 5.6 ppt and PFOA at 2.5 ppt.

The decision to boost filtration efforts has stemmed from pressure from residents and local businesses. While it likely wasn’t the full impetus for the allocated funding, a local pizza joint provides an example of just how concerned Plainfield Township has become.

“Despite assurances from some local officials, a restaurant franchisee isn’t convinced the Plainfield Township water is safe to use in his business,” according to another Michigan Live report. “[Tony] Griffin decided last week his Belmont restaurant, a B.C. Pizza franchise, will no longer use tap water to prepare food. He is also giving his buffet customers the option of drinking bottled water or Pepsi in a can, instead of filling their cups from a fountain machine connected to the township’s water system.”

While the approved filtration system funding is certainly a step in the right direction toward easing residents’ minds, many still have concerns about the safety of their tap water.

Cody Angell, an organizer with the advocacy group Demand Action, told Michigan Live that he wanted to see action to reduce other contaminants as well.

“Members of Demand Action say past testing found 1,4-dioxane and hexavalent chromium in Plainfield Township water, and the system had a 2016 violation for total trihalomethanes (TTHM), a group of chemicals formed alongside disinfection byproducts when chlorine reacts with organic material like leaves or dirt in water,” per Michigan Live.

While those concerns are up for debate, it should interest other communities dealing with PFCs to monitor how Plainfield’s efforts turn out.

To read more about dealing with PFCs visit Water Online’s Source Water Contamination Solutions Center.

Image credit: “IMG_6707," Liz Strass, 2017, used under an Attribution 2.0 Generic license: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/