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Posted on: July 30, 2018

Water Testing

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On July 27, 2018 at 10 PM, the City of Portage received test results from the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ) of the City of Portage water supply.  The samples were taken on June 14, 2018 as part of the MDEQ statewide initiative to test drinking water for Per- and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances (PFAS) from community water supplies.  Eight well fields were tested, which encompass all 20 wells in the City of Portage water supply network.  Samples from two well fields, involving three wells, tested above the non-detect level for PFAS – one at 13 parts per trillion (ppt) and the other at 2 ppt.  These levels of PFAS are below the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Lifetime Health Advisory (or action limits) of 70 ppt, the amount below which no harm is expected.

Even though the MDEQ has advised the City of Portage that no action is needed in response to the testing results, on Saturday, July 28, 2018, the city proactively shut down the three affected wells until further testing can be done.  The City of Portage has initiated additional testing of the three wells, which is expected to be accomplished in approximately one month.  The City of Portage is committed to providing water customers with quality drinking water and is working closely with the MDEQ to maintain the safety of the water supply.

It is not uncommon to find low levels of PFAS in drinking water supplies, as PFAS can be found in fire-fighting foams, stain repellants, nonstick cookware, waterproof clothing, food wrappers, and many other household products.  They do not break down in the environment and move easily into water.

For health related questions, please contact the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) at 1-800-648-6942 or visit one of the websites below.

For information on PFAS including possible health outcomes, visit these websites:

  • State of Michigan PFAS Action Response Team (MPART) website serving as the main resource for public information on PFAS contamination in Michigan www.michigan.gov/pfasresponse  
  • Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ASTDR) website including health information, exposure, and links to additional resources www.atsdr.cdc.gov/pfas
  • United States Environmental Protection Agency (U.S. EPA) website including basic information, U.S. EPA actions, and links to informational resources www.epa.gov/pfas

Contact: 

Kendra Gwin, P.E., Director
Department of Transportation & Utilities
269-329-4400 | gwink@portagemi.gov

Laurence Shaffer, City Manager
413-658-7089 | shafferl@portagemi.gov


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