Superintendent letter announces schools all cleared for PFAS

In a letter sent out to Rockford school parents on Wednesday, November 15, Dr. Michael Shibler, RPS Superintendent, announced the results of testing of the water of schools in the district:

Dear RPS families, community, and staff:

This morning, in a meeting with officials from the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) and the Kent County Health Department (KCHD), I received Per- and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances (PFAS) – water quality testing results for the well water samples from Cannonsburg, Crestwood, and Lakes Elementary Schools.

I have been advised that there is no public health risk. The MDHHS (Michigan Department of Health and Human Services) “concludes that no apparent public health hazard exists and no immediate additional work is needed at these locations.”  Also the DEQ concluded that there are no known or suspected PFAS sources in the area surrounding Cannonsburg, Crestwood, and Lakes Elementary Schools. The testing was done out of an abundance of caution.

The instrumentation used to test our samples is extremely sensitive and, because the equipment is so sensitive, it can detect trace levels of the PFOA and PFOS compounds.

The levels at Cannonsburg, Crestwood, Lakes Elementary Schools ranged from 0.891 ppt through 1.25 ppt, well below the levels established by the Environmental Protection Agency Life Time Health Advisory Level of 70 ppt.

Again, we requested these samples as a precautionary measure and are informing you of the results.  We will voluntarily test our wells annually and publish the results on our website.

If you have questions or concerns about the water issue in general, you may wish to attend a town hall meeting hosted by the Kent County Health Department on Wednesday, November 29 at 6 p.m. at the Rockford Freshman Center.  Officials from several agencies will be available prior to and during the meeting starting at 4:30 p.m. to address specific concerns.  Arrangements are pending to provide a live feed of the meeting, and information will be posted on the KCHD website.

As always, please let me know if you have any questions.  I wish you and your family a Happy Thanksgiving.

Dr. Mike Shibler

Superintendent of Schools