City Water Tested for PFAS Contamination

The City of Dexter recently got a clean bill of health for the city’s municipal drinking water supply.

The City has reported that test results received on Sept. 6, 2018 showed that the chemical substances known as PFAS/PFOS/PFOA were not detected in our drinking water. Water samples were taken from the Ryan Drive well field and from the well near Dexter High School.

PFAS/PFOS/PFOA are perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl chemicals that are resistant to heat, water, and oil. This group of chemicals has been classified by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) as an emerging contaminant at a national level.

PFAS have been used for decades in industrial applications and consumer products such as carpeting, waterproof clothing, footwear, upholstery, food paper wrappings, fire-fighting foams, and metal plating. PFAS are still in use today. PFAS have been found at low levels both in the environment and in blood samples of the general U.S. population.
These chemicals are considered to be persistent; they do not break down in the environment. PFAS also bioaccumulate, meaning the amount builds up over time in the blood and organs. Studies conducted in animals exposed to PFAS showed links between the chemical compounds and increased cholesterol, changes in hormones and immune system, decreased fertility, and an increased risk of certain cancers. Research in which test animals were given high levels of PFAS showed effects including low birth weight, delayed puberty onset, elevated cholesterol levels, and reduced immunologic responses to vaccination.

Recently, a “Do not eat” warning was issued regarding fish from the Huron River because of PFAS contamination. In 2014, PFAS were found in Ann Arbor’s municipal drinking water as well as other sites around Michigan. The source of contamination for Ann Arbor was traced back to the Huron River. The source for the Huron River contamination is unknown. The city continues monthly testing as well as experimenting with methods of removing PFAS using granular activated carbon (GAC). It will be some time before results of that study are known.

You can learn more about PFAS and the State of Michigan’s response at https://www.michigan.gov/pfasresponse/

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