Michigan Senator Introduces Pair of Bills Aimed at Addressing PFAS

Two bills from Senator Debbie Stabenow (D-Michigan) and bipartisan cosponsors will provide cleanup and more monitoring of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) in the environment.

One bill would accelerate the government’s work to improve detection of PFAS contamination, while the other would improve cooperation between state regulators and the Pentagon to address PFAS contamination near military installations.

Stabenow’s first bill, the PFAS Detection Act of 2018, would provide the U.S. Geological Survey with $45 million over five years to develop advanced testing methods for finding PFAS chemicals in the environment. The bill includes funds for USGS sampling of estuaries, lakes, streams, springs, wells, wetlands, and soil for PFAS chemicals.

The second bill, the PFAS Accountability Act of 2018, urges the Department of Defense to cooperate with states as PFAS contamination is detected in communities near federal installations. The legislation will facilitate testing, monitoring, removal, and remediation when these chemicals are detected in the water and soil.

Senator Gary Peters (D-Michigan) also announced that the Subcommittee on Federal Spending Oversight and Emergency Management will hold a hearing at 2:30 p.m. ET on September 26 titled “The Federal Role in the Toxic PFAS Chemical Crisis.”

These bills and announcement of the subcommittee hearing come on the heels of the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality testing data showing that more than 1.5 million people in Michigan have been drinking municipal water with some level of PFAS contamination. The list of systems with known PFAS levels includes major systems that draw water from the Great Lakes such as Saginaw, Grand Rapids, and Wyoming, as well as groundwater systems including Kalamazoo and Ann Arbor, which draws primarily from the Huron River.

Many in the groundwater industry are working daily on PFAS-related issues, and NGWA’s Groundwater and PFAS: State of Knowledge and Practice, published last year, is one of the most comprehensive tools available on the topic. The text was crafted by 36 NGWA volunteers.

NGWA also has on online resource center on PFAS, which includes:

  • A PFAS FAQs sheet
  • Top 10 facts about PFAS
  • NGWA’s involvement in PFAS at the federal level
  • A homeowner checklist
  • A list of EPA community events.

Visit the NGWA PFAS Resource Center.