East Lansing Drinking Water Passes Key Safety Test

Wednesday, October 3, 2018, 7:13 am
Jessy Gregg

The East Lansing and Meridian Water and Sewer Authority (ELMWSA) has received a clean bill of health from the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality after testing showed no detectible levels for a group of manufactured chemicals called per-and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS).

The PFAS testing is part of a statewide initiative to test drinking water in all Michigan schools.

PFAS can be released into the environment from a variety of sources including fire-fighting foams, stain repellants, nonstick cookware, waterproof clothing, food wrappers, and many other household products. They can end up in the groundwater since they do not break down in the environment and can move easily into water.

As National Public Radio reported yesterday, “It’s difficult to pin down exactly how harmful these chemicals are because research is limited,” but some scientists believe there is reasonable evidence linking these products with a number of illnesses, including some cancers.

The “non-detect” result from the local test indicates that no PFAS were found in the drinking water supplied by the ELMWS, down to a measurement of 2 parts per trillion.

ELMWS pumps and treats the drinking water it provides it to East Lansing and Meridian Township through water towers and distribution systems.

In an email to ELi, Scott House, East Lansing’s Director of Public Works, said “[The ELMWS] truly is an example of early regionalism between East Lansing and Meridian Township in the production and distribution of drinking water.”


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