3/5/2018 | 1 MINUTE READ

Michigan Takes Steps to Eliminate PFOS, PFOA and PFAS

Facebook Share Icon LinkedIn Share Icon Twitter Share Icon Share by EMail icon Print Icon

The Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) is requiring wastewater treatment plants with industrial pretreatment programs to screen for and eliminate these compounds commonly used in the metal-finishing industry.

Share

Facebook Share Icon LinkedIn Share Icon Twitter Share Icon Share by EMail icon Print Icon

The Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) is requiring wastewater treatment plants with industrial pretreatment programs to eliminate several compounds used in the metal-finishing industry: perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS), perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA), and perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS).

The DEQ sent a letter to the plants in the state in late February asking them to “investigate probable sources, reduce/eliminate the sources found and take other actions to protect surface water quality as needed.” The agency specifically called out the metal-finishing industry as a source of some of the compounds, along with firefighting foams, and stain- and water-resistant treatments for clothing, furniture and carpeting.

Erin Burns, executive director of the Michigan chapter of the National Association for Surface Finishing, notified its members that they will soon be contacted by their local publicly owned treatment works to test how much of the compounds they are disposing.

“DEQ asked WWTFs (wastewater treatment facilities) to conduct initial screening for potential sources of PFAS, develop a monitoring plan, and perform source testing to identify levels in wastewater above the surface water quality standard of 12 parts per trillion for PFOS,” she says.

Representatives from the NASF and its Michigan chapter met with the DEQ and U.S. EPA in January to discuss issues related to the PFAS initiative, which has a June 29 deadline for data collection, and an October 26 deadline for a plan to reduce or eliminate the PFOS and PFOA.

“We are concerned about several critical issues, including the lack of any approved testing methodology for PFAS in wastewater,” Burns says. “These concerns are exacerbated by the aggressive deadlines imposed on WWTFs in the DEQ letter.”

The Michigan House of Representatives passed a bill in January which provides a $23.2 million allocation for testing, monitoring and technical assistance at more than a dozen sites across Michigan. This funding will also pay for improvements to the Michigan DEQ’s water testing laboratory, which is not currently equipped to test for PFAS.

“Water samples from homes are currently shipped out of state because none of the water testing facilities in Michigan have the capability to test for PFAS. Right now families have to wait about eight weeks for results,” says State Representative Daire Rendon of Lake City. “Upgrading the state’s DEQ laboratory will ensure a reliable, timely response for our residents.”

For information, visit minasf.org.

Related Topics

RELATED CONTENT

  • Chromium Plating

    An overview of decorative and hard chromium electroplating processes.

  • Plating Q&A: Can you color stainless steel?

    Our expert, Art Kushner, says yes, you can color stainless steel, but it is not a process that is typically performed in a plating shop. Read more about his answer.

  • Masking for Surface Finishing

    Masking is employed in most any metal finishing operation where only a specifically defined area of the surface of a part must be exposed to a process. Conversely, masking may be employed on a surface where treatment is either not required or must be avoided. This article covers the many aspects of masking for metal finishing, including applications, methods and the various types of masking employed.


Resources