PFAS News Roundup: Michigan governor invokes defense bill, high levels in Minnesota landfills, business lobby sues Wisconsin DNR

PFAS News Roundup: Michigan governor invokes defense bill, high levels in Minnesota landfills, business lobby sues Wisconsin DNR
April 6, 2021 Natasha Blakely
Image by google.com/maps

PFAS, short for per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, are a group of widespread man-made chemicals that don’t break down in the environment or the human body and have been flagged as a major contaminant in sources of water across the country.

Keep up with PFAS-related developments in the Great Lakes area.

Click on the headline to read the full story:


A proposed plan to address per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances contamination in Clark’s Marsh has drawn criticism from those in the community, as well as others. While some say they are happy to see steps being taken at this site, they also argue that it is still not enough. Others stress that the suggested move should be more aggressive now, in order to avoid additional time and money having to be spent down the road to enhance the treatment.

A change in the operating permit by the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy will require the City of Alpena’s utility contractor Suez, to test for Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, which is also known as PFAS. The move was made after the state discovered an elevated amount of PFAS in biosolids.

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer is attempting to use national defense policy legislation passed two years ago to force the U.S. Department of Defense into compliance with tough state pollution cleanup laws in Michigan.

In a March 31 letter to U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin, Whitmer invoked a section of the 2020 National Defense Authorization Act that could force the Pentagon to meet the state’s new low PFAS standards while conducting cleanup at the former Wurtsmith Air Force Base in Oscoda and other military contamination sites.


Groundwater at one landfill, near the Iowa border, shows PFAS contamination more than 1,000 times Minnesota’s drinking water health standard — worse than levels at the former Washington County landfill near where 3M Co. manufactured the chemicals.

New York:

U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand announced the introduction Monday of a bill that would improve the legal pathways for medical monitoring of PFAS contamination in order to avoid premature death or disability.


Another La Crosse municipal well near the airport has tested positive for PFAs contamination. Well 26 is located on the northwest side of the La Crosse Regional Airport. According to the city, it tested positive for the man-made compounds last month in two separate tests.

Wisconsin’s largest business interest lobbying group has filed suit against the state Department of Natural Resources, asserting that state law doesn’t allow the agency to carry out a program to sample wastewater at industrial and municipal sites for the “forever chemicals” known as PFAS.

Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce filed a complaint on Monday in Jefferson County Circuit Court against the DNR, claiming the agency is unlawfully seeking to sample wastewater for PFAS that’s released from industrial and municipal facilities. The business group argues the DNR lacks explicit authority to conduct such sampling among facilities that operate under wastewater discharge permits.


Industry attorneys say they’re bracing for a wave of corporate liability and litigation as the Biden administration works swiftly to fulfill a campaign promise to control “forever chemicals.”

The Environmental Protection Agency announced it’s working on three water-related regulations for per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, or PFAS. It sent a fourth chemical data-collection proposal to the Office of Management and Budget, or OMB, for approval.

Catch up on more PFAS news on Great Lakes Now:

PFAS is in fish and wildlife. Researchers prowl Michigan for clues.

PFAS in the House: Are toxic “forever chemicals” a steady drip in this reporter’s home?

PFAS News Roundup: Indiana introduces PFAS bills, Michigan citizens unhappy about 8-month disclosure delay

PFAS News Roundup: Pennsylvania water utility sues 3M, Dupont, Michigan officials waited 8 months to warn residents

Nonstick pans often don’t note they use PFAS

PFAS Around the Great Lakes Region: Actions taken in each state or province and standards set, if any

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Featured image: Clark’s Marsh, Oscoda Township (Image from Google Maps)


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