Sampling of public water supplies is underway across Livingston County, as state health officials look for any sites potentially contaminated by PFAS.

At the county’s Board of Commissioners’ meeting Monday, Matt Bolang, Director of Environmental Health, reported a statewide sampling effort of public water supply sites is being conducted by MPART, which is the Michigan PFAS Action Response Team. Perfluoroalkyls, more commonly known as PFAS, are manmade chemicals that are resistant to heat, water and oil. Bolang says the PFAS contamination is an emerging and evolving issue as the chemicals do not readily breakdown once introduced to the environment and over 11,300 sites statewide could be contaminated by PFAS.

The state has identified 83 sites in Livingston County that must be sampled, about 50% of which has been completed. Bolang says currently MPART is only testing public water supplies, which includes sites that service schools, municipalities, manufacturing housing communities, and areas on city water systems. Bolang says it's too early to sample private wells until results from the public water supply samples are returned.

Bolang expects results from the sampling to become available within the next month, though the county has no control over that because the sampling is state-led at this point. Bolang did not recommend the Board of Commissioners take any action until they receive the results, at which point he says they will work with the state collaboratively on steps forward, whether that be additional sampling, investigation or targeted action.

The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services on Saturday issued an emergency “do not eat” advisory regarding all fish from the Huron River from Milford in Oakland County to Base Line and Portage Lakes at the Livingston and Washtenaw county border. The advisory came after fish from Kent Lake were discovered to have high levels of PFOS, or perfluorooctane sulfonate, which is a chemical included in the PFAS family. (DK)