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As summer temperatures rise, many Michiganders flock to various lakes and rivers to enjoy some time on the water. As the State of Michigan continues to fight the invisible pollutants perfluorinated compounds, commonly known as PFAS or PFOA, residents must continue to exercise caution while recreating on the waters of Washtenaw County.
The Huron River Do Not Eat Fish Advisory continues to remain in effect due to the high levels of PFAS detected in fish and water samples in the Huron River. Do not eat any fish caught out of the Huron River from N Wixom Rd to Lake Erie. This advisory extends to connected lakes, ponds and creeks, including the Huron River Chain of Lakes found in Livingston and Washtenaw counties.
Map of the Huron River and its watershed in southeastern Michigan.
Image courtesy of GreatLakesNow.org
The State of Michigan has created a PFAS Response Team. This team takes a proactive approach to identify locations where PFAS may be present. Enforcement efforts have greatly reduced PFAS levels in hotspots and from known sources. PFAS levels are below pending regulatory levels for all drinking water and most surface water locations.
The Ann Arbor Water Treatment Plant continually monitors PFAS and PFOA in drinking water for the City of Ann Arbor. Please know your water is safe to drink! Well sampling near PFAS sources has ruled out any issues, except for a pending 2020 sampling at a small group of wells near the Huron downstream of Zeeb Rd in Scio Twp. The City has reported that drinking water remains below health-screening levels for PFAS and they “continue to seek ways to improve our treatment processes” and uphold the highest water quality standards.
Continue to avoid any foam found in the water. Foam found on water is often naturally occurring, but could be the result of PFAS. The department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (EGLE) has information on identifying natural foam from potential PFAS foam. While enjoying water, avoid swallowing any foam found in the water. Remember to wash your hands after contacting foam and rinse pets off using fresh water after they swim through foam. Pets could swallow foam residue while grooming their fur.
To report foam on any waters in Michigan, complete EGLE’s Spill/Incident/Pollution reporting form or call their Pollution Emergency Alert System at 1(800)-292-4706.
Have additional questions? Visit the Michigan PFAS Action Response Team site for additional information.