December 21st, 2020

In a move that continues to show initiative by the Whitmer Administration toward addressing the PFAS crisis in our state, the Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (EGLE) announced the establishment of new PFAS cleanup criteria for groundwater used for both residential and nonresidential drinking water and will assign standards for each chemical. These new rules will cover five additional PFAS chemicals — PFNA, PFBS, PFHxA, PFHxS, and GenX — that weren’t included in previous EGLE rules pertaining to cleanup. Previous rules had begun regulating PFAS by specifically placing standards on PFOS and PFOA under authority delegated to the department under Part 201 of the Natural Resources and Environmental Protection Act (NREPA). Under this section of the act, EGLE determined using scientific evidence that these five chemicals posed unacceptable risks to the environment and public health, allowing them to be identified as hazardous substances using the best available information about toxicology at their disposal. It was clear to the Department these dangerous chemicals needed to be regulated based on their highly soluble properties, being highly mobile once they enter groundwater, and being incredibly persistent to clean up once they enter the environment. The PFAS family of chemicals can bioaccumulate in humans, causing all sorts of serious detrimental health effects to multiple organ systems, including cancer.

The new rules will take effect immediately as of December 21, 2020, and will be in effect through the entirety of the rulemaking process set in the Administrative Procedures Act. Michigan LCV commends Governor Whitmer and EGLE for refusing to remain complacent with current PFAS standards and instead continuing to seek rules and regulations that put the health and well-being of our residents first.