PFAS News Roundup: CDC encourages doctors to start testing for PFAS

Keep up with PFAS-related developments in the Great Lakes area with Great Lakes Now’s biweekly headline roundup.  

Click on the headline to read the full story:  

 

Michigan

PFAS contamination has grown in Michigan to the point that some Michiganders say … — Michigan Radio 

Michiganders have been talking about what kind of presidential leadership they would like to see on “forever chemicals.” 

PFAS, clean energy and EVs get funding in Whitmer budget plan, but enviros want transit prioritized — Michigan Advance 

Gov.

Read Now at Great Lakes Now.

Original Article

Great Lakes Now

Great Lakes Now

https://www.greatlakesnow.org/2024/02/pfas-news-roundup-cdc-encourages-doctors-start-testing-for-pfas/

Kathy Johnson

The PFAS research team: Lyn van Swol, Bret Shaw, Cristina Carvajal, Gavin Dehnert. Image credit: Hannan Hein of University of Wisconsin-Madison

A team from the University of Wisconsin-Madison received a grant from Illinois-Indiana Sea Grant to study PFAS (per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances) messaging to water users in Wisconsin with a special focus on Latinos, since they are the largest and fastest-growing minority group in the state.

PFAS, sometimes called “forever” chemicals, are found in various products and can contaminate drinking water. High levels of PFAS have been linked to health risks, such as increased cholesterol levels, decreased vaccine response, risk of thyroid disease, lower birth weights and reduced fertility in women. However, health risks at lower levels are uncertain. Communicating these risks effectively to increase understanding, avoid undue fear and provide recommendations for behaviors people can do to reduce risks is crucial to the 70% of Wisconsinites who depend on municipal water supplies.

“The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources now requires monitoring for PFAS in municipal water supplies and reporting when any are detected at over 70 parts per trillion,” said Lyn van Swol, principal investigator and a professor with UW-Madison’s Department of Communication Arts. “Given these new requirements and uncertainty about the health effects of PFAS, particularly at lower levels, public health educators are struggling with how to communicate with the public about the presence of PFAS in their municipal water supplies.”

Van Swol and the grant team will work to develop effective communication strategies about PFAS risks, focusing on engaging messages that encourage actions such as using water filtration systems. They will do this in three parts. First, they will gather data on people’s internet searches related to PFAS information. Second, they will test specific messages with municipal water users, and finally, test which messages engage social media audiences.

They will share their results via webinars, news releases and collaborations with Spanish-speaking media. The team will also develop resources for environmental and health communication professionals designed to enhance public understanding and proactive response to PFAS exposure in their communities.

The grant team is comprised of van Swol and Bret Shaw, professor with the Department of Life Sciences Communication and an environmental communication specialist with UW-Division of Extension; Gavin Dehnert, emerging contaminant scientist with Wisconsin Sea Grant; and Cristina Carvajal of Wisconsin Eco-Latinos.

Other partners include UW-Madison Extension, the Wisconsin Department of Health Services, the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, Public Health Madison & Dane County and the UniverCity Alliance.

The study is part of a larger project coordinated by Illinois-Indiana Sea Grant that addresses PFAS knowledge gaps in the Great Lakes region.

The post PFAS in municipal drinking water: New grant designed to improve risk communication in Wisconsin first appeared on Wisconsin Sea Grant.

Original Article

News Releases | Wisconsin Sea Grant

News Releases | Wisconsin Sea Grant

https://www.seagrant.wisc.edu/news/pfas-in-municipal-drinking-water-new-grant-designed-to-improve-risk-communication-in-wisconsin/

Marie Zhuikov

PFAS News Roundup: Researchers fear PFAS factory air emissions contribute to widespread contamination in North Carolina

Keep up with PFAS-related developments in the Great Lakes area with Great Lakes Now’s biweekly headline roundup. 

Click on the headline to read the full story: 

 

Indiana 

Bill to allow industry use of some toxic PFAS passes Indiana House  — WFYI 

A bill that would change the definition of toxic PFAS to exclude chemicals Indiana manufacturers want to continue using passed the House on Tuesday. 

Read Now at Great Lakes Now.

Original Article

Great Lakes Now

Great Lakes Now

https://www.greatlakesnow.org/2024/01/pfas-news-roundup-researchers-fear-pfas-factory-air-emissions-contribute-to-widespread-contamination-in-north-carolina/

Kathy Johnson

Defense Department to again target ‘forever chemicals’ contamination near Michigan military base

By Todd Richmond, Associated Press

The U.S. Department of Defense plans to install two more groundwater treatment systems at a former Michigan military base to control contamination from so-called forever chemicals, U.S. Rep. Elissa Slotkin’s office announced Friday.

Environmentalists say the systems will help prevent PFAS from spreading into the Clarks Marsh area and the Au Sable River near the former Wurtsmith Air Force Base in Oscoda on the shores of Lake Huron.

Read Now at Great Lakes Now.

Original Article

Great Lakes Now

Great Lakes Now

https://www.greatlakesnow.org/2024/01/ap-defense-department-to-again-target-forever-chemicals-contamination-near-michigan-military-base/

The Associated Press

PFAS News Roundup: ‘Forever chemicals’ in fish, building a better response to PFAS contamination

Keep up with PFAS-related developments in the Great Lakes area with Great Lakes Now’s biweekly headline roundup.

Click on the headline to read the full story:

Illinois

Military investigators make disturbing discovery at O’Hare and Midway airports: ‘It’s there forever‘ — The Cool Down

For years, Chicago and military firefighters used a firefighting foam known as AFFF, which contains toxic PFAS.

Read Now at Great Lakes Now.

Original Article

Great Lakes Now

Great Lakes Now

https://www.greatlakesnow.org/2024/01/pfas-news-roundup-forever-chemicals-in-fish-building-a-better-response-to-pfas-contamination/

Kathy Johnson

PFAS experts gather to address growing chemical crisis

In light of the ongoing PFAS crisis, stricter groundwater regulations were part of a Michigan statewide effort to protect resident’s health and improve water quality. This was before 3M corporation sued the state to invalidate these new rules. 3M prevailed in the lower courts and the state is currently awaiting a decision for an appeal filed with the Michigan Supreme Court.

Read Now at Great Lakes Now.

Original Article

Great Lakes Now

Great Lakes Now

https://www.greatlakesnow.org/2023/12/pfas-experts-gather-address-growing-crisis/

Kathy Johnson

December 4, 2023
By Marie Zhuikov

A new report published by the University of Wisconsin-Madison found that Wisconsin’s rural residents perceived significant risks to water quality from pesticides, PFAS (per- and poly-fluoroalkyl substances) and excess nutrients. They also ranked water as very or extremely important for supporting wildlife and for hunting and fishing, in addition to home uses such as drinking and cleaning.

These findings regarding groundwater and surface water are based on a study by UW-Madison professors, including Michael Cardiff via a research project funded by the University of Wisconsin Water Resources Institute. The report, entitled, “Rural Resident Perceptions of Wisconsin’s Waters” is available for free download.

As part of a larger project, Cardiff, associate professor of geoscience, and his interdisciplinary team surveyed 1,500 randomly selected households across 16 counties in Wisconsin. They received 481 responses.

Cardiff was struck by the importance water held for rural interests in hunting and fishing. “If we’re talking with rural users about why they might want to protect their water, speaking in that natural reference frame about impacts on fish and wildlife might resonate.”

The finding about the “forever chemicals,” PFAS, surprised Cardiff. “People might just be hearing about this through the media and so it’s something they’re worried about even though it might not be as important as other contaminants in rural settings,” he said. “We usually think of dangerous concentrations of PFAS being associated with industrial operations or airports.”

The survey also contained questions regarding water supply, but respondents had fewer concerns regarding this issue. Cardiff agrees with that assessment. “I would generally say we’re in a good place in Wisconsin on water supply. We tend to have more issues with flooding than we do with not being able to reach water,” he said.

Michael Cardiff (Submitted photo)

However, Cardiff expects water pollution and water supply to become more important in the future as the Upper Midwest is touted as a climate haven and more people move here.

Rural residents were also surveyed about how they get their news about water. “Rural residents don’t get a lot of news about their water, or at least they don’t report getting a lot of news. The most cited sources of information were local news or friends and family, but even use of those sources was quite low,” Cardiff said.

Respondents ranked other sources of information more trustworthy than local news or their friends. This included UW scientists, research organizations and private well testers. But rural residents don’t report hearing from them very often.

Cardiff expects the report to be useful for state legislators and water regulatory agencies. Collaborating with him on it were UW student Catherine Christenson; Ken Genskow, professor of planning and landscape architecture; and Bret Shaw, associate professor of life sciences communication.

The post Wisconsin’s rural residents concerned about water quality first appeared on WRI.

Original Article

News Release | WRI

News Release | WRI

https://www.wri.wisc.edu/news/wisconsins-rural-residents-concerned-about-water-quality/

Marie Zhuikov

PFAS News Roundup: How ‘forever chemicals’ affect the human body

Keep up with PFAS-related developments in the Great Lakes area with Great Lakes Now’s biweekly headline roundup.

 

Click on the headline to read the full story:

Michigan

EGLE establishes new surface water values for two additional PFAS chemicals — State of Michigan

The Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy has set human health water quality parameters, which measure the maximum substance concentrations before adverse health effects.

Read Now at Great Lakes Now.

Original Article

Great Lakes Now

Great Lakes Now

https://www.greatlakesnow.org/2023/11/pfas-news-roundup-how-forever-chemicals-affect-human-body/

Kathy Johnson

Former director of the University of Wisconsin Water Resources Institute (WRI), Jim Hurley, last week received a certificate of appreciation for his service on the State of Wisconsin’s Groundwater Coordinating Council (GCC).

Hurley spent 11 years as a member of the body that was created by the state legislature in 1984 to both facilitate interagency cooperation of those departments that have jurisdiction over water and foster research, monitoring and education around Wisconsin’s 1.2 quadrillion gallons of groundwater. Hurley was the GCC representative from the Universities of Wisconsin.

In highlighting his contributions, Jim Zellmer said Hurley was invaluable to “funding efforts, placement of postgraduate fellows and really supporting all of the research, education and outreach that has benefited the Groundwater Coordinating Council, the agencies that participate in the council and the state as a whole.”

Two people standing together and both holding a certificate.
Jim Hurley (left) received a certificate of recognition from Jim Zellmer, Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, on behalf of the Groundwater Coordinating Council.

Zellmer chairs the GCC and is a deputy division administrator for the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR), overseeing drinking water and groundwater and water quality programs, as well as the Office of Great Waters.

Hurley said the GCC is an amazing resource that brings entities together to solve problems. He said many other states look to Wisconsin as a model for cooperative groundwater study and ongoing monitoring.

In particular, he called out the research that led to better understanding the scope of naturally occurring radium compromising drinking water in Waukesha, Wisconsin. That work led to the unprecedented approval from Great Lakes governors and premiers to allow residents of this southeastern Wisconsin community outside of the basin to draw drinking water from Lake Michigan as a solution to protect public health.

Hurley also invoked a study about per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) that was released in early November. He complimented the research team for recognizing the value of drawing on both state and federal agency knowledge along with that of academia. The study presented an important picture of PFAS prevalence and levels in private drinking water wells across the state.

“It was great to see how quickly the state, and a little bit of the feds in there too, and universities responded to PFAS” in the groundwater, Hurley said.

In October, Hurley retired as the WRI director. During his years on the GCC, he managed a groundwater research competition that allows potential investigators to submit to several funding sources simultaneously. Then, the WRI arranges for peer review of all submitted proposals, easing funding decision-making for those providing the dollars for the eventual projects.

During Hurley’s tenure there were 82 research projects funded by the universities and the state of Wisconsin departments of Natural Resources, as well as Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP). The research topics were diverse but can be broadly characterized as addressing groundwater quantity, quality and management.

In addition to the DNR, DATCP and the universities, other GCC members include the Wisconsin Geological and Natural History Survey and the state of Wisconsin departments of Safety and Professional Services, Health Services and Transportation.

The post Honor for former WRI director first appeared on WRI.

Original Article

News Release | WRI

News Release | WRI

https://www.wri.wisc.edu/news/honor-for-former-wri-director/

Moira Harrington

An evening view of Lake Mendota from outside UW-Madison’s Water Science and Engineering Laboratory. Image credit: Andrew Glasgow

This summer, 31 students from across the country were chosen for the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s Freshwater@UW Summer Research Opportunities Program, which is affiliated with Wisconsin Sea Grant, the University of Wisconsin Water Resources Institute and the University of Wisconsin-Madison Graduate School. Many of the students provided reflections on what they learned. We’ll share several over the coming months. Here’s Andrew Glasgow, an undergraduate in civil and environmental engineering from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

When people hear that I spent my summer on the shore of Madison’s Lake Mendota, many imagine leisurely days basking in the sunshine. While many of my evenings were spent outdoors with colleagues and new friends, the bulk of my daylight hours were instead spent indoors at UW-Madison’s lakeside Water Science and Engineering Laboratory—where matters far removed from summer fun weighed upon my mind.

As part of the Freshwater@UW research program this summer, I worked to develop an inexpensive, accessible method for detection of PFAS in drinking water. PFAS, also known as “forever chemicals,” are a group of over 4,000 toxic, synthetic substances with high persistence and ubiquity in the environment and drinking water. However, due to the cost and time constraints of current detection methods, many communities—especially those without access to financial resources—cannot monitor their water supply for PFAS contamination. As such, these communities may unknowingly continue to ingest high levels of PFAS, potentially leading to cancer and other health issues. Through my involvement in this project, I sought to help protect human health by combating this state of affairs.

The Ramen Spectrometer used by Glasgow in Wei’s lab. Image credit: Marie Zhuikov, Wisconsin Sea Grant

My mentor, Haoran Wei, and I hoped to detect PFAS using surface-enhanced Raman spectroscopy (SERS): a rapid, inexpensive technique that uses a laser to detect different molecules. While prepared for failure, we had high hopes for success; SERS’ usage had facilitated the detection of other micropollutants in the past. And to our great encouragement, our hopes seemed to be affirmed by the initial results. With further research, we discovered that these groundbreaking results were not as they seemed; our method had been detecting another substance instead and was thus unsuccessful.

One half of the program had passed when we made this discovery—one month spent performing dangerous and tedious work, in service of an illusion waiting to be shattered. Considering the mental tolls of PFAS work, learning the truth of our results was a disorienting blow, as our confidence and endurance of those struggles now felt purposeless. Not only would our work not improve the current detection methods for PFAS in drinking water, but it could likely not be published for other researchers (despite its value), due to publication bias and the optics of “failed” results.

While my mentor and I still attempted to analyze why PFAS could not be detected, technological limitations unfortunately prevented final confirmation after weeks of analysis. Our project ended on this anticlimactic note.

Despite this conclusion, however, if given the opportunity to live the entire experience over, I would do so in a heartbeat. Although the final research outcome was disappointing, I developed essential skills and learned powerful lessons that I will carry throughout my career. Even more valuable was the opportunity to become integrated into a research community—which, as I discovered, is an opportunity to cherish. When there are new undergraduate and graduate friends to connect with, to mutually share excitements and failures, the weight of any personal defeat pales in comparison. I am very grateful for both the research and the friendships that the Freshwater@UW program provided me.

 

The post A PFAS conundrum first appeared on Wisconsin Sea Grant.

Original Article

Blog | Wisconsin Sea Grant

Blog | Wisconsin Sea Grant

https://www.seagrant.wisc.edu/blog/a-pfas-conundrum/

Wisconsin Sea Grant

PFAS News Roundup: Push to find ‘forever chemicals’ replacements in manufacturing

Keep up with PFAS-related developments in the Great Lakes area with Great Lakes Now’s biweekly headline roundup.

Click on the headline to read the full story:

Michigan

Michigan State University to host PFAS symposium: Educating farmers on forever chemicals — WWMT

Michigan State University is hosting an upcoming symposium to educate farmers on the impact of PFAS.

Read Now at Great Lakes Now.

Original Article

Great Lakes Now

Great Lakes Now

https://www.greatlakesnow.org/2023/11/pfas-news-roundup-push-to-find-forever-chemicals-replacements-in-manufacturing/

Kathy Johnson

PFAS News Roundup: Ridding groundwater of ‘forever chemicals’ with ultrasound, increasing PFAS monitoring in rivers

Keep up with PFAS-related developments in the Great Lakes area with Great Lakes Now’s biweekly headline roundup.

Click on the headline to read the full story:

 

Illinois

Forever Chemicals and Cancer Risk — Chicago Health Magazine

The managing partner at a Chicago-based law firm started getting calls from firefighters last year: men and women with kidney, prostate, and bladder cancers.

Read Now at Great Lakes Now.

Original Article

Great Lakes Now

Great Lakes Now

https://www.greatlakesnow.org/2023/10/pfas-news-roundup-ridding-groundwater-forever-chemicals-ultrasound-increasing-pfas-monitoring-rivers/

Kathy Johnson

This week, Wisconsin Sea Grant and Midwest Environmental Advocates launched Public Trust, a new podcast miniseries that explores Wisconsin’s response to PFAS contamination. Host Richelle Wilson visits communities impacted by these toxic “forever chemicals” to understand how local residents have been affected and what they’re doing to secure their rights to clean water. The miniseries is presented as part of the award-winning The Water We Swim In podcast.

Wisconsin Sea Grant video and podcast producer Bonnie Willison traveled with Richelle to French Island and Peshtigo to conduct interviews with community members. Many of us take clean drinking water for granted, so hearing from these Wisconsinites on the front lines of PFAS contamination is sobering. I’m glad I’m able to help bring these voices to the public through our partnership with Midwest Environmental Advocates,” said Willison.

Preview the podcast series here.

The first episode of Public Trust takes listeners to the small town of Campbell on French Island to find out what it’s like when an entire community can no longer safely use its tap water. French Island resident and local official Lee Donahue takes listeners on a tour of the neighborhood and tells the story of how local drinking water was contaminated by PFAS-containing firefighting foam used at the La Crosse Airport.

Not only are Lee Donahue and her neighbors telling their stories, they’re also actively engaged in advocating for new environmental health protections, including a statewide groundwater quality standard for PFAS. While Wisconsin has a water quality standard that limits the level of PFAS in municipal drinking water, there’s no equivalent standard for groundwater. That’s a problem for communities like French Island, which depend entirely on private wells for their drinking water.

Later in the series, Public Trust takes listeners to the communities of Peshtigo and Marinette, where for years, local residents have been engaged in a David-and-Goliath battle with a major firefighting foam manufacturer that has polluted their drinking water and created one of the largest sites of PFAS contamination in the country. 

The series concludes with a trip to the northwoods, where Wisconsin Sea Grant emerging contaminants scientist Gavin Dehnert is working with the Great Lakes Indian Fish and Wildlife Commission to look for PFAS in tribally-harvested goods like wild rice, maple sap, and walleye.

Public Trust can be found here or wherever they get their podcasts.

The post Podcast Miniseries Highlights Stories of Wisconsin Communities Impacted by PFAS Pollution first appeared on Wisconsin Sea Grant.

Original Article

News Releases | Wisconsin Sea Grant

News Releases | Wisconsin Sea Grant

https://www.seagrant.wisc.edu/news/publictrust/

Bonnie Willison

PFAS News Roundup: Can we get rid of ‘forever chemicals’?

Keep up with PFAS-related developments in the Great Lakes area with Great Lakes Now’s biweekly headline roundup.

Click on the headline to read the full story:

 

Indiana

What to do if there are PFAS in your Indiana drinking water — Louisville Public Media

So far, Indiana Department of Emergency Management has found unhealthy levels of PFAS in 19 drinking water utilities.

Read Now at Great Lakes Now.

Original Article

Great Lakes Now

Great Lakes Now

https://www.greatlakesnow.org/2023/10/pfas-news-roundup-can-we-get-rid-of-forever-chemicals/

Kathy Johnson

Clock ticks for water utilities to join national PFAS settlements

By Brett Walton, Circle of Blue

The Great Lakes News Collaborative includes Bridge Michigan; Circle of Blue; Great Lakes Now at Detroit Public Television; and Michigan Radio, Michigan’s NPR News Leader; who work together to bring audiences news and information about the impact of climate change, pollution, and aging infrastructure on the Great Lakes and drinking water.

Read Now at Great Lakes Now.

Original Article

Great Lakes Now

Great Lakes Now

https://www.greatlakesnow.org/2023/10/clock-ticks-for-water-utilities-to-join-national-pfas-settlements/

Circle of Blue

State of Michigan sues Gerald R. Ford Airport Authority for PFAS pollution

By Lester Graham, Michigan Radio

The Great Lakes News Collaborative includes Bridge Michigan; Circle of Blue; Great Lakes Now at Detroit Public Television; and Michigan Radio, Michigan’s NPR News Leader; who work together to bring audiences news and information about the impact of climate change, pollution, and aging infrastructure on the Great Lakes and drinking water.

Read Now at Great Lakes Now.

Original Article

Great Lakes Now

Great Lakes Now

https://www.greatlakesnow.org/2023/09/state-michigan-sues-gerald-r-ford-airport-authority-pfas-pollution/

Michigan Radio

PFAS News Roundup: Impact of PFAS on farming, proposed cuts to the EPA

Keep up with PFAS-related developments in the Great Lakes area with Great Lakes Now’s biweekly headline roundup.

Click on the headline to read the full story:

 

Illinois
Farmer Claiming PFAS Pollution From Mine Sent to Arbitration — Bloomberg Law News

An Illinois appellate court on Friday ordered a dispute between a farmer and a mining company over alleged water pollution from firefighting foam used to extinguish a fire at a mining operation be settled in arbitration, reversing a lower court decision.

Read Now at Great Lakes Now.

Original Article

Great Lakes Now

Great Lakes Now

https://www.greatlakesnow.org/2023/09/pfas-news-roundup-impact-pfas-farming-proposed-cuts-epa/

Kathy Johnson

PFAS News Roundup: PFAS likely present in all major water supplies, Court rules against restrictions on PFAS in Michigan

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.

Read Now at Great Lakes Now.

Original Article

Great Lakes Now

Great Lakes Now

https://www.greatlakesnow.org/2023/08/pfas-news-roundup-pfas-likely-present-water-supplies-court-rules-against-restrictions-michigan/

Kathy Johnson

Pentagon to address PFAS at Wurtsmith base near Oscoda

By Mike Wilkinson, Bridge Michigan

The Great Lakes News Collaborative includes Bridge Michigan; Circle of Blue; Great Lakes Now at Detroit Public Television; and Michigan Radio, Michigan’s NPR News Leader; who work together to bring audiences news and information about the impact of climate change, pollution, and aging infrastructure on the Great Lakes and drinking water.

Read Now at Great Lakes Now.

Original Article

Great Lakes Now

Great Lakes Now

https://www.greatlakesnow.org/2023/08/pentagon-address-pfas-wurtsmith-base-oscoda/

Bridge Michigan

In this second part of a two-part series on Wisconsin Sea Grant’s Summer Outreach Opportunities Program Scholars, we introduce six more scholars working on five projects.

***

What did you do this summer?

A seagull

A seagull enjoys summer at Bradford Beach in Milwaukee.
Photo credit: Wisconsin Sea Grant

It’s a question that, in the middle of August, might prompt panicked reexamination of how you spent the long, warm days of a fleeting season.

For Wisconsin Sea Grant’s Summer Outreach Opportunities Program scholars, the answers come easily.

This summer, 12 undergraduate students from across the country spent a jam-packed 10 weeks collaborating with outreach specialists on coastal and water resources projects across Wisconsin. Scholars conducted research, engaged kids and adults and shared the stories of Great Lakes science, all while working alongside mentors to explore careers and graduate education in the aquatic sciences.

Whether they wrangled fish in Green Bay or researched green infrastructure in Ashland, scholars have much to share about how they spent their summers. Here’s a snapshot of the final five projects in our series.

 

Project: Climate Change and Green Infrastructure

It’s summer in Ashland, Wisconsin, and summer scholar Alexander Wuethrich is already thinking about winter.

Alex Wuethrich

Summer scholar Alex Wuethrich. Photo credit: Alex Wuethrich

Wuethrich, a senior at Northland College majoring in climate science with a minor in physics, is working under the mentorship of Climate and Tourism Outreach Specialist Natalie Chin to research the ways the city of Ashland can use green infrastructure to absorb and slow the flow of stormwater into Lake Superior. He’s focusing on rainwater—but also snow.

Wuethrich explained that the city receives so much snow in winter that crews remove it from city streets and take it to a snow dump site. The current location makes it easy for polluted runoff to enter local waterways.

“Right now, [the site] is at the top of a ravine that leads into a river,” said Wuethrich. As the snow melts, water carries all the sediment, salt and pollutants picked up from city streets into the river, which leads to Lake Superior.

One option is constructing a wetland, which can slow down water and allow sediments to settle out. Wetland plants can also remove heavy metals. Said Wuethrich, “It’ll bring out a lot of those contaminants that we want to keep out of the water system.”

The city can also take measures to prevent pollutants from being on the street in the first place. Enter the street sweeper.

“Learning about how much of a difference [street sweeping] can make was a real eye-opener for me,” Wuethrich said. Working along sweeper routes for three days, he discovered they do more than just tidy up roads. “[Street sweepers] can also pick up heavy metals and other things from cars…like lead and copper that’ll naturally wear off.” Street sweepers also collect dust and sediment before rainwater washes them into the lake.

In addition to getting a crash course in public works, Wuethrich has been using GIS to map storm sewers and catchment basins in the city and developed educational materials on green infrastructure and how to maintain stormwater ponds in the city. He also created a list of trees that, if approved by the city council, would shape what trees can be planted along city streets. The list prioritizes salt- and drought-tolerant native species that could adapt to a warmer, climate-changed future.

The summer scholar experience has underlined that getting involved matters. Said Wuethrich, “It makes a big difference what your local administrators are doing.”

 

Project: Eat Wisconsin Fish

For Jojo Hunt and Crow Idnani, this was the summer of fish. Paired with Food-Fish Outreach Coordinator Sharon Moen and Aquaculture Outreach and Education Specialist Emma Hauser in Superior, Wisconsin, the scholars spent their summers immersed in the commercial fishing and aquaculture industries across the state: visiting producers, learning about the industry and sharing what they’ve learned. Both scholars completed projects that seek to educate and connect consumers with fish caught or farmed in Wisconsin.

Jojo Hunt gives the thumbs up next to a large tank of fish

Jojo Hunt at the UW-Stevens Point Northern Aquaculture Demonstration Facility. Photo credit: Jojo Hunt

Hunt, a junior at the University of Denver majoring in GIS with minors in computer science and math, is updating the fish finder map on the Eat Wisconsin Fish website, which helps consumers find local businesses that raise or sell Wisconsin fish.

“The main goal of the map is to bring more attention and awareness to where [the businesses] are and what they do and hopefully break some of those stereotypes,” she said, pointing to the misconception that farm-raised fish is unsustainable.

Hunt is also experimenting with different map-making tools to feature profiles of the producers alongside the data. “I thought it’d be kind of nice to see those right under the map to make the points have a story,” said Hunt.

Crow Idnani at the UW-Stevens Point Northern Aquaculture Demonstration Facility

Crow Idnani at the UW-Stevens Point Northern Aquaculture Demonstration Facility. Photo credit: Crow Idnani

Idnani is also working to dispel myths about aquaculture by suggesting updates to A Consumer’s Guide for Wisconsin Farm-Raised Fish, a publication of the UW–Stevens Point Northern Aquaculture Demonstration Facility (NADF) and the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection. The current guide provides an overview of the aquaculture industry in Wisconsin but can get overly technical. Idnani, a sophomore at Cornell University majoring in environmental science with an eye toward science communication, is reviewing the guide through a consumer lens so that it is more useful for the general public.

A creative piece is in the works, too. Idnani is also writing an article tracing the life of an Atlantic salmon at NADF, from when the fish hatches to when it is harvested. Idnani, Hauser and Moen plan to pitch the story to a regional publication to get it in front of audiences outside the aquaculture industry.

From measuring and sorting Atlantic salmon at the NADF facility to preparing shore lunches and teaching kids about aquaculture, the scholars have—unsurprisingly—learned a lot about all things fish.

Said Idnani, “I never grilled a fish until coming here; I never handled a live fish until coming here. It’s been a lot of firsts, but I’ve enjoyed it.”

 

Projects: PFAS Bioaccumulation in Plants and Animals Associated with Aquatic Ecosystems

Assessing Aquatic Plant Management Tools for Invasive, Native and Nontarget Organisms in Lake Ecosystems

Britta McKinnon

Summer scholar Britta McKinnon. Photo credit: Britta McKinnon

Britta McKinnon and Heidi Wegehaupt spent their summers in lakes and labs working to paint a more complete picture of how contaminants enter and impact aquatic ecosystems. The scholars participated in two research projects: one focused on poly- and perfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), and the other on herbicides.

McKinnon, a junior at UW–Milwaukee majoring in aquatic sciences, focused primarily on PFAS. Under the direction of Emerging Contaminants Scientist Gavin Dehnert, she identified potential sources of PFAS in northern Wisconsin. McKinnon paid special attention to airports, which use PFAS-containing foams to extinguish fires, as well as landfills and papermills. She noted lakes that may be affected by contaminated runoff.

PFAS can persist in water for a long time. Sometimes called “forever chemicals,” they do not break down easily and can get taken up by plants and animals—and eventually humans—in a process known as bioaccumulation. McKinnon developed a series of factsheets explaining what PFAS are, how they enter and move through the environment and the concerns they pose for human health.

In sharing information with others, she learned a lot about PFAS herself. For example: PFAS are not one substance but many. “I had no idea that there are thousands of different types,” said McKinnon.

Herbicides, not PFAS, were the subject of Heidi Wegehaupt’s research this summer. Working with Dehnert and aquatic invasive outreach specialist Tim Campbell, Wegehaupt collected water and fish samples across three lakes in northern Wisconsin to determine how the herbicide 2,4-Dicholrophenoxyacetic acid affects nonnative Eurasian watermilfoil, the intended target, and nontarget aquatic organisms.

Said Wegehaupt, “Each waterbody has a unique ecological composition, meaning they all react to herbicides differently.”

Knowing how the herbicide affects nontarget species like fish will help lake associations make informed decisions about how to manage invasive species on their lake.

In collecting samples from different lakes, Wegehaupt, a senior at UW–Madison majoring in conservation biology with a certificate in environmental studies, learned she loved fieldwork.

“My favorite part of this experience so far has been spending time at the lakes we’re sampling and just taking the time to enjoy being outside. Getting to know the lakes we work on and talking with locals has been enlightening to my experience as a whole,” said Wegehaupt.

McKinnon, on the other hand, was excited about the lab work. In addition to her PFAS research, McKinnon helped the research team test the impacts of herbicides on fish scale growth. It reminded her of her favorite class, chemistry. Said McKinnon, “I found that I’m in love with the laboratory aspects.”

Neither scholar had previous experience in environmental toxicology but both used the summer to explore which aspects of the research process resonated with them.

Said Wegehaupt, “I still have one year left at UW, so hopefully this opportunity helps me form a path for the future.”

 

Project: Expanding Voices Heard in the Wisconsin Water Library

India-Bleu Niehoff helps children with an activity at the library.

India-Bleu Niehoff helps children with an activity at the library. Photo credit: Wisconsin Sea Grant

As a summer scholar with the Wisconsin Water Library at UW–Madison, India-Bleu Niehoff learned quickly that working at a small library means variety is routine.

“It’s a special academic library, which basically means you do everything,” said Niehoff.

There’s the minding of books, of course—over 35,000 about the Great Lakes and waters of Wisconsin—but then there’s the sharing of books through blog posts, book clubs and library programming across the state. Alongside Senior Special Librarian and Education Coordinator Anne Moser, Niehoff led lessons on shipwrecks and sturgeon and coached kids how to use remotely operated vehicles (ROVs) constructed from clothes hangers.

A rising graduate student in library and information studies, Niehoff was game for it all.  

One of her projects was to help coordinate the fall edition of the Maadagindan! Start Reading! book club. A collaboration between Wisconsin Sea Grant, the Wisconsin Water Library and the Great Lakes Indian Fish and Wildlife Commission, Maadagindan! brings together parents and educators to discuss children’s books about Ojibwe culture and language. Meetings also feature an honored guest, usually the author, illustrator or a member of the Ojibwe community who speaks to the themes or importance of the book.

Niehoff researched and helped select the four books, all of which are written by Indigenous women authors. It was difficult to choose just four. As she learned, it’s easy to get lost down the dazzling rabbit hole of books.

“Once you start searching, you keep finding,” she said.

Niehoff also wrote blog posts for the Water Library’s Aqualog blog, the first of which centers on underrepresented groups in nature. The two-part post outlines resources about the history of racism in conservation as well as organizations working to make the outdoors accessible to everyone. The second post, currently under development, will feature resources about Indigenous women in STEM.

India-Bleu Niehoff leads an activity about Great Lakes shipwrecks

Niehoff leads an activity about Great Lakes shipwrecks. Photo credit: Wisconsin Sea Grant

Said Niehoff, “I’ve really enjoyed looking into stuff I’m passionate about and interested in and then accumulate it and make it something that’s available to other people.”

And let’s not forget about the shipwrecks and sturgeon. Niehoff and Moser travelled across the state, from Madison to Sheboygan to Eau Claire, delivering Great Lakes education programming for kids at local libraries. They read books, led kids in the Japanese art of gyotaku and printed fish on paper and played Great Lakes trivia. Watching Moser, Niehoff learned how to engage kids when reading aloud.

Everybody was learning something.

“Going to local communities and sharing this information [was] really enjoyable. Especially because it’s not just kids, it’s parents and whatever grown-up that’s with them,” said Niehoff.

The summer scholar experience allowed Niehoff to experience many different aspects of working at a library, from cataloguing books to leading kids in crafts. Struck by the breadth of the discipline, she’s got a lot to think about going into her first year of grad school.

Said Niehoff, “There are so many different directions you can go.”

 

The post Summer scholars dip toes into water-related careers: Part two first appeared on Wisconsin Sea Grant.

Original Article

News Releases | Wisconsin Sea Grant

News Releases | Wisconsin Sea Grant

https://www.seagrant.wisc.edu/news/summer-scholars-dip-toes-into-water-related-careers-part-two/

Jenna Mertz

PFAS News Roundup: Clermont County village files lawsuit over forever chemicals, Home testing kits debut in Chicago

Keep up with energy-related developments in the Great Lakes area with Great Lakes Now’s biweekly headline roundup.

Click on the headline to read the full story:

 

Illinois

Home Water Quality Testing Kits For Lead, Copper And PFAS To Debut In Chicago — Forbes

The National Science Foundation is backing a pilot study by Northwestern University to develop and distribute water quality testing kits to Chicago-area residents.

Read Now at Great Lakes Now.

Original Article

Great Lakes Now

Great Lakes Now

https://www.greatlakesnow.org/2023/08/pfas-news-roundup-clermont-county-village-lawsuit-forever-chemicals-testing-kits-debut-chicago/

Kathy Johnson

Amendment to Clean Water Act improves Great Lakes through critical observation, collaboration

From fishing to enjoying a summer day at the beach, the Great Lakes provide enjoyment, comfort and a sense of home to the region. But these bodies of water were not always secure, as the lakes and connecting rivers were considered dangerous due to high pollution spots. 

The Great Lakes region has seen some of the most historic river fires.

Read Now at Great Lakes Now.

Original Article

Great Lakes Now

Great Lakes Now

https://www.greatlakesnow.org/2023/08/amendment-to-clean-water-act-improves-great-lakes-through-critical-observation-collaboration/

Jada Vasser

PFAS News Roundup: Legislation introduced in Michigan, Ways to reduce your exposure

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.

Read Now at Great Lakes Now.

Original Article

Great Lakes Now

Great Lakes Now

https://www.greatlakesnow.org/2023/08/pfas-news-roundup-legislation-introduced-in-michigan-reduce-exposure/

Kathy Johnson

PFAS News Roundup: First-to-market PFAS annihilator in Michigan, $42.4 million in claims against Wisconsin city

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.

Read Now at Great Lakes Now.

Original Article

Great Lakes Now

Great Lakes Now

https://www.greatlakesnow.org/2023/07/pfas-news-roundup-firs-market-pfas-annihilator-michigan-42-4-million-claims-wisconsin-city/

Kathy Johnson

Study says drinking water from nearly half of US faucets contains potentially harmful chemicals

By John Flesher, AP News

TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. (AP) — Drinking water from nearly half of U.S. faucets likely contains “forever chemicals” that may cause cancer and other health problems, according to a government study released Wednesday.

The synthetic compounds known collectively as PFAS are contaminating drinking water to varying extents in large cities and small towns — and in private wells and public systems, the U.S.

Read Now at Great Lakes Now.

Original Article

Great Lakes Now

Great Lakes Now

https://www.greatlakesnow.org/2023/07/ap-study-drinking-water-nearly-half-us-faucets-contains-potentially-harmful-chemicals/

The Associated Press

PFAS News Roundup: U.S. Military proposes health benefits to veterans, How to identify contaminated foam

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.

Read Now at Great Lakes Now.

Original Article

Great Lakes Now

Great Lakes Now

https://www.greatlakesnow.org/2023/07/pfas-news-roundup-u-s-military-proposes-health-benefits-to-veterans-how-to-identify-contaminated-foam/

Kathy Johnson

Nessel: $10B PFAS settlement with 3M doesn’t resolve Michigan’s claims

By Kelly House Bridge Michigan

The Great Lakes News Collaborative includes Bridge Michigan; Circle of Blue; Great Lakes Now at Detroit Public Television; and Michigan Radio, Michigan’s NPR News Leader; who work together to bring audiences news and information about the impact of climate change, pollution, and aging infrastructure on the Great Lakes and drinking water.

Read Now at Great Lakes Now.

Original Article

Great Lakes Now

Great Lakes Now

https://www.greatlakesnow.org/2023/06/nessel-10b-pfas-settlement-with-3m-doesnt-resolve-michigans-claims/

Bridge Michigan

PFAS News Roundup: Everyday items found contaminated, PFAS removal in Minnesota estimated to cost billions

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.

Read Now at Great Lakes Now.

Original Article

Great Lakes Now

Great Lakes Now

https://www.greatlakesnow.org/2023/06/pfas-news-roundup-everyday-items-found-contaminated-pfas-removal-minnesota-estimated-billions/

Kathy Johnson

PFAS News Roundup: At-home blood test developed to detect PFAS earlier

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.

Read Now at Great Lakes Now.

Original Article

Great Lakes Now

Great Lakes Now

https://www.greatlakesnow.org/2023/05/pfas-news-roundup-home-blood-test-developed-detect-pfas-earlier/

Kathy Johnson

The Catch: National PFAS limits

Broadcasting in our monthly PBS television program, The Catch is a Great Lakes Now series that brings you more news about the lakes you love. Go beyond the headlines with reporters from around the region who cover the lakes and drinking water issues. Find all the work HERE.

This month, The Catch features a story about national regulations on PFAS.

Read Now at Great Lakes Now.

Original Article

Great Lakes Now

Great Lakes Now

https://www.greatlakesnow.org/2023/05/the-catch-national-pfas-limits/

GLN Editor

PFAS News Roundup: The Nation’s first “PFAS Annihilator” is now being used in Michigan

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.

Read Now at Great Lakes Now.

Original Article

Great Lakes Now

Great Lakes Now

https://www.greatlakesnow.org/2023/05/pfas-news-roundup-nations-first-pfas-annihilator-being-used-michigan/

Kathy Johnson

PFAS News Roundup: West Michigan is showing PFAS levels higher than the national average

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.

Read Now at Great Lakes Now.

Original Article

Great Lakes Now

Great Lakes Now

https://www.greatlakesnow.org/2023/05/pfas-news-roundup-west-michigan-pfas-levels-higher-than-national-average/

Kathy Johnson

Great Lakes Take Global Stage

By Brett Walton, Circle of Blue

The Great Lakes News Collaborative includes Bridge Michigan; Circle of Blue; Great Lakes Now at Detroit Public Television; and Michigan Radio, Michigan’s NPR News Leader; who work together to bring audiences news and information about the impact of climate change, pollution, and aging infrastructure on the Great Lakes and drinking water.

Read Now at Great Lakes Now.

Original Article

Great Lakes Now

Great Lakes Now

https://www.greatlakesnow.org/2023/04/great-lakes-take-global-stage/

Circle of Blue

Eve Muslich, University of Wisconsin-Madison, pours maple sap from a collecting bag into a bottle for testing for PFAS. Image credit: Bonnie Willison, Wisconsin Sea Grant

April 3, 2023
By Marie Zhuikov

When Jonathan Gilbert, director of biological services with the Great Lakes Indian Fish and Wildlife Commission, received a report about levels of PFAS (per- and poly-fluoroalkyl substances) in wolves taken during the 2021 hunting season in Wisconsin, he was flummoxed. The scientific report contained terms and measurements that he, even as a biologist, didn’t understand. Gilbert’s quest for answers led to a larger project that is testing maple syrup, walleyes and lake water for PFAS in areas of the Midwest where Ojibwe tribal members harvest food.

During the wolf season, hunters volunteered their wolf remains to GLIFWC for PFAS testing. Gilbert said about 40% of the wolves had detectable levels of these chemicals. He was given Gavin Dehnert’s name as someone who could help answer his questions about the PFAS report. Dehnert, an emerging contaminants scientist, specializes in PFAS. Dehnert works for Wisconsin Sea Grant, a sister agency to the University of Wisconsin Water Resources Institute (WRI).

Jonathan Gilbert, Great Lakes Indian Fish and Wildlife Commission. Image credit: Bonnie Willison, Wisconsin Sea Grant

“So, I called him up and we had a nice conversation and he answered all my questions and educated me quite a bit on this,” Gilbert said.

Gilbert needed to present the wolf data to the Voigt Intertribal Task Force – a group composed of 10 of the 11 Ojibwe tribes that harvest from Ceded Territories in parts of Minnesota, Wisconsin and Michigan. The task force ensures safe harvest limits and is advised by GLIFWC. Gilbert invited Dehnert to attend the meeting.

Dehnert said, “We spent probably two to three hours just listening to the questions they had, concerns they had – big questions they were really hoping to answer.” Those questions involved PFAS levels in fish, wild rice, and maple syrup and other things tribal members harvest on a regular basis.

“Gavin kept saying, ‘Well, we don’t know, we don’t know.’ But he took what he heard there, and he wrote up a grant proposal to test the waters in rice lakes and in walleye lakes, and to test the sap of maple trees. That’s exactly what the tribes were telling him they were really concerned about,” Gilbert said.

The three-year tribally driven project, “Quantifying PFAS bioaccumulation and health impacts on economically important plants and animals associated with aquatic ecosystems in Ceded Territories,” was recently funded by the U.S. Geological Survey’s Water Resources Research Act Program, the same program through which WRI is funded.

The project has three goals: 1) Assess aquatic environments for PFAS contamination in the Ceded Territories, 2) Determine the accumulation of PFAS in different plants and animals and 3) Understand the health impacts from PFAS exposure. In addition to Dehnert and Gilbert, the project involves Emily Cornelius Ruhs with the University of Chicago, Sean Strom with the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, and Christine Custer and Robert Flynn with USGS.

“Zhewaab” Reggie Cadotte, Native American Studies Faculty and Cultural Coordinator, Lac Courte Orielles Ojibwe University, and Gavin Dehnert, Wisconsin Sea Grant, inspect a maple tree for sap sampling on Lac Courte Orielles tribal land in northern Wisconsin. Image credit: Bonnie Willison, Wisconsin Sea Grant

Dehnert said that part one of the project will explore lakes where there’s high harvests of walleye and other fish species and wild rice in Ceded Territories. Researchers will look for the presence of PFAS and determine the levels.

Maple trees were tapped for maple sap collection on Lac Courte Orielles tribal lands to determine levels of PFAS. Image credit: Bonnie Willison, Wisconsin Sea Grant

Part two involves understanding the bioaccumulation of PFAS in harvestable goods. “If we know that it’s in the water source where these walleye or wild rice are living, we want to be able to have some sort of correlation between how much PFAS is in the lake water and then how much is then getting into the fish and wild rice,” Dehnert said. Gilbert stressed that they don’t know how much PFAS moves from the water into fish and plants. They will also test vats of maple sap harvested by tribal members.

Part three will look at impacts on organisms that live in the aquatic environments, focusing on tree swallows. This part, led by Ruhs, will explore how PFAS can impact the immune function of tree swallows in different life stages, from nestlings to adults. The swallows are considered an indicator species for contaminated water because they feed near their nesting area almost solely on aquatic insects. Researchers will take blood samples from the birds and look at white blood cell count and antibodies.

Part one will begin this spring with sampling of maple sap and lake water in 25 lakes.

Dehnert is looking forward to the project.

“It’s not focusing on just science for science. There’s a true actionable side to it. That was why we chose the plants and animals that were highly harvested by these tribes. If you’re finding high concentrations of PFAS in these types of harvestable goods, they are going to disproportionately impact the tribes because they are relying on them for their sustainability and food consumption. Sometimes in science people might look at different plants and animals that don’t really have a cultural tie. So that, to me, has always been why we got so excited about this project,” he said.

A research project team collects maple tree sap for PFAS sampling on Lac Courte Orielles tribal land in spring 2023. Pictured, left to right, are Eve Muslich, University of Wisconsin-Madison; Andre Bennett, Lac Courte Orielles Ojibwe University; Gavin Dehnert, Wisconsin Sea Grant; Jonathan Gilbert, Great Lakes Indian Fish and Wildlife Commission; and “Zhewaab” Reggie Cadotte, Lac Courte Orielles Ojibwe University. Image credit: Bonnie Willison, Wisconsin Sea Grant
The post New project tests Ceded Territories for PFAS at request of tribes first appeared on WRI.

Original Article

News Release | WRI

News Release | WRI

https://www.wri.wisc.edu/news/new-project-tests-ceded-territories-for-pfas-at-request-of-tribes/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=new-project-tests-ceded-territories-for-pfas-at-request-of-tribes

Marie Zhuikov

PFAS News Roundup: Questions about the EPA’s nationwide PFAS rule, answered

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.

Read Now at Great Lakes Now.

Original Article

Great Lakes Now

Great Lakes Now

https://www.greatlakesnow.org/2023/03/pfas-news-roundup-questions-about-the-epas-nationwide-pfas-rule-answered/

Kathy Johnson

PFAS News Roundup: All fish tested from Michigan rivers contain ‘forever chemicals’, study finds

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.

Read Now at Great Lakes Now.

Original Article

Great Lakes Now

Great Lakes Now

https://www.greatlakesnow.org/2023/03/pfas-news-roundup-all-fish-tested-from-michigan-rivers-contain-forever-chemicals-study-finds/

Kathy Johnson

EPA to limit toxic ‘forever chemicals’ in drinking water

By Michael Phillis and Matthew Daly, Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Environmental Protection Agency on Tuesday proposed the first federal limits on harmful “forever chemicals” in drinking water, a long-awaited protection the agency said will save thousands of lives and prevent serious illnesses, including cancer.

The plan would limit toxic PFAS chemicals to the lowest level that tests can detect. 

Read Now at Great Lakes Now.

Original Article

Great Lakes Now

Great Lakes Now

https://www.greatlakesnow.org/2023/03/ap-epa-limit-toxic-forever-chemicals-drinking-water/

The Associated Press

For Ann Arbor water managers, ongoing battle to keep toxic chemicals at bay

By Kelly House, Bridge Michigan

This story is part of a Great Lakes News Collaborative series investigating the region’s water pollution challenges. Called Refresh, the series explores the Clean Water Act’s shortcomings in the Great Lakes, and how the region can more completely address water pollution in the next 50 years.

Read Now at Great Lakes Now.

Original Article

Great Lakes Now

Great Lakes Now

https://www.greatlakesnow.org/2023/02/for-ann-arbor-water-managers-ongoing-battle-to-keep-toxic-chemicals-at-bay/

Bridge Michigan

Lakes Michigan and Huron join list of lakes with PFAS-tainted smelt

By Kelly House, Bridge Michigan

The Great Lakes News Collaborative includes Bridge Michigan; Circle of Blue; Great Lakes Now at Detroit Public Television; and Michigan Radio, Michigan’s NPR News Leader; who work together to bring audiences news and information about the impact of climate change, pollution, and aging infrastructure on the Great Lakes and drinking water.

Read Now at Great Lakes Now.

Original Article

Great Lakes Now

Great Lakes Now

https://www.greatlakesnow.org/2023/02/lakes-michigan-huron-pfas-tainted-smelt/

Bridge Michigan

Michigan plastics company forced to probe PFAS contamination, cover costs

By Kelly House, Bridge Michigan

The Great Lakes News Collaborative includes Bridge Michigan; Circle of Blue; Great Lakes Now at Detroit Public Television; and Michigan Radio, Michigan’s NPR News Leader; who work together to bring audiences news and information about the impact of climate change, pollution, and aging infrastructure on the Great Lakes and drinking water.

Read Now at Great Lakes Now.

Original Article

Great Lakes Now

Great Lakes Now

https://www.greatlakesnow.org/2023/01/michigan-plastics-company-probe-pfas-contamination/

Bridge Michigan

PFAS News Roundup: New requirements taking effect in 2023 to protect consumers from ‘forever chemicals’

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.

Read Now at Great Lakes Now.

Original Article

Great Lakes Now

Great Lakes Now

https://www.greatlakesnow.org/2023/01/pfas-news-roundup-requirements-2023-protect-consumers-forever-chemicals/

Kathy Johnson

Study: Toxic PFAS chemical plume detected in Green Bay

By John Flesher, AP Environmental Writer

A large plume of toxic chemicals produced by a plant that manufactures firefighting foam has seeped through groundwater to Lake Michigan’s Green Bay, scientists said Tuesday.

The chemicals belong to a family of compounds known as PFAS, or per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, which are used widely in consumer products ranging from nonstick cookware and water-repellent sports gear to stain-resistent carpets.

Read Now at Great Lakes Now.

Original Article

Great Lakes Now

Great Lakes Now

https://www.greatlakesnow.org/2023/01/ap-pfas-chemical-plume-detected-green-bay/

The Associated Press

A new study has found that a plume of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) from an industrial source has made its way into Green Bay, Lake Michigan, through the movement of groundwater.

PFAS are often referred to as “forever chemicals” because they do not readily break down in the environment. They have been used to make a wide range of products resistant to water, grease, oil and stains and are also found in firefighting foams, which are a major source of environmental PFAS contamination. The chemical compounds have been shown to have adverse effects on human health.

Christy Remucal with the University of Wisconsin-Madison Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, and postdoctoral co-investigator Sarah Balgooyen published their work in the Dec. 27, 2022, issue of the journal Environmental Science & Technology, https://pubs.acs.org/doi/10.1021/acs.est.2c06600 It was funded by a grant from the Wisconsin Sea Grant College Program.

“We used a forensics approach to investigate how the PFAS fingerprint from an industrial source changes after undergoing environmental and engineered processes,” Remucal said.

Woman wearing lab goggles, gloves and a lab coat in a lab.

Researcher Christy Remucal in her lab on the University of Wisconsin-Madison campus is analyzing water samples taken from a known contamination site.

Researchers tracked the movement of PFAS through groundwater and surface water flow, as well as the chemicals’ presence in biosolids on land. Analysis of samples showed that, unfortunately, a large PFAS plume has moved into Green Bay, Lake Michigan.

Green Bay is one of the largest bays on the Great Lakes, an interconnected freshwater system providing drinking water for 30 million U.S. and Canadian residents. That makes it even more important for researchers to understand what contaminants are present and where they may have come from.

The source of this Great Lakes contamination has been traced to Tyco Fire Products. The company’s fire-training facilities in Marinette and Peshtigo have previously been identified as a source of PFAS contamination in groundwater and private drinking water wells in the area.

The forensic technique in this study used PFAS fingerprinting, a process that uses ratios of individual PFAS compounds to identify PFAS contaminants and their sources. In this case, the PFAS fingerprint in Green Bay is nearly identical to PFAS associated with Tyco and includes PFAS known to be active ingredients in firefighting foams. This fingerprinting method could be used to hold polluting companies responsible for the contaminated water, the researchers said.

The study also found that PFAS associated with the industrial facility are present in streams near some agricultural fields. The researchers believe this PFAS contamination may have come from the treated biosolids many farmers use to fertilize their fields.

Biosolids are the product of wastewater treatment and are rich in nutrients like nitrogen and phosphorus. PFAS in wastewater undergo extensive processing and some PFAS tend to concentrate in biosolids during treatment.

Remucal and Balgooyen determined that PFAS from biosolids can still mobilize after being spread on land. So, when farmers spread biosolids on their fields, PFAS can eventually make their way to adjacent streams.

Blonde woman wearing safety goggles, gloves and a lab coat in a lab.

Sarah Balgooyen is a postdoctoral investigator of PFAS, which is a group of man-made chemicals known for stain- and water-resistance, but also causes cancer in humans.

“Treated biosolids are commonly spread on fields all across Wisconsin,” Balgooyen said. “This information may impact how municipalities across Wisconsin and other states approach the use of biosolids as an agricultural fertilizer.”

The post New study: Northeastern Wisconsin PFAS plume moves into Green Bay via groundwater first appeared on Wisconsin Sea Grant.

Original Article

News Releases | Wisconsin Sea Grant

News Releases | Wisconsin Sea Grant

https://www.seagrant.wisc.edu/news/new-study-northeastern-wisconsin-pfas-plume-moves-into-green-bay-via-groundwater/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=new-study-northeastern-wisconsin-pfas-plume-moves-into-green-bay-via-groundwater

Moira Harrington

PFAS News Roundup: 3M says it will stop making ‘forever chemicals’ by 2025, but global problem remains

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.

Read Now at Great Lakes Now.

Original Article

Great Lakes Now

Great Lakes Now

https://www.greatlakesnow.org/2023/01/pfas-news-roundup-3m-stop-forever-chemicals-2025-global-problem-remains/

Kathy Johnson

PFAS News Roundup: New regulations approved, new solutions explored

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.

Read Now at Great Lakes Now.

Original Article

Great Lakes Now

Great Lakes Now

https://www.greatlakesnow.org/2022/12/pfas-news-roundup-new-regulations-approved-new-solutions-explored/

Kathy Johnson

PFAS News Roundup: “Forever chemicals” may pose bigger risk to health than scientists thought

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.

Read Now at Great Lakes Now.

Original Article

Great Lakes Now

Great Lakes Now

https://www.greatlakesnow.org/2022/12/pfas-news-roundup-forever-chemicals-may-pose-bigger-risk-health-scientists/

Kathy Johnson

PFAS News Roundup: “Forever chemicals” may pose bigger risk to health than scientists thought

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.

Read Now at Great Lakes Now.

Original Article

Great Lakes Now

Great Lakes Now

https://www.greatlakesnow.org/2022/12/pfas-news-roundup-forever-chemicals-may-pose-bigger-risk-health-scientists/

Kathy Johnson

PFAS News Roundup: States take on “forever chemicals” with bans and lawsuits

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.

Read Now at Great Lakes Now.

Original Article

Great Lakes Now

Great Lakes Now

https://www.greatlakesnow.org/2022/11/pfas-news-roundup-states-take-on-forever-chemicals-with-bans-and-lawsuits/

Kathy Johnson

PFAS News Roundup: Ongoing Upper Peninsula industrial fire raises “forever chemical” concerns, PFAS medical monitoring programs to begin in New York

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.

Read Now at Great Lakes Now.

Original Article

Great Lakes Now

Great Lakes Now

https://www.greatlakesnow.org/2022/11/pfas-news-roundup-upper-peninsula-industrial-fire-forever-chemical-concerns-medical-monitoring-programs-new-york/

Kathy Johnson

PFAS News Roundup: Petition says EPA loophole lets “forever chemicals” evade review

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.

Read Now at Great Lakes Now.

Original Article

Great Lakes Now

Great Lakes Now

https://www.greatlakesnow.org/2022/10/pfas-news-roundup-petition-says-epa-loophole-lets-forever-chemicals-evade-review/

Kathy Johnson