The problem of water contamination from Perfluoroalkyl and Polyfluoroalkyl substances, commonly known as PFAS, is spreading. It’s not just a Rockford problem, but a state and national issue as well. If you have a well at your home or maybe your cottage and you are concerned about PFAS contamination, we wanted to make you aware of an option you may not have heard about – home test kits.
Freshwater Future is a non-profit organization that has developed a home test kit in collaboration with the University of Michigan Biological Station. For $60, you can order a kit that contains the test bottle, two sets of gloves (to help prevent contamination), a data sheet, mailing label and step-by-step instructions on collecting the sample. There is also an instructional video on the website at https://freshwaterfuture.org/services/water-testing/.
Once you have safely collected your sample, you will mail it back to the lab where a chemist from the U of M Biological Station will test it for PFAS. It may take 4-6 weeks to get your results.
Here are some things you need to know about the test:
- The University of Michigan Biological Station’s lab is not certified for PFAS analysis. Very few labs in the country are currently certified (and certification may change as the EPA develops new rules). However, U of M uses the same test methods as other labs.
- The results CANNOT be used in a court of law. If your results show high levels of PFAS, further testing would be required and you would want to contact the Health Department and EGLE (formerly DEQ).
- Results are subject to seasonal variations as groundwater levels change. PFAS plumes can travel in groundwater, so even if you have been tested before, it might be worth a second test to make sure it hasn’t changed.
- For a list of chemicals that are tested, please visit the website (see above) and look at the FAQs.
The Rockford SusCom has worked with the Rogue River Watershed Partners to evaluate the kit. The SusCom and the RRWP are appreciative of the collaboration between U of M and Freshwater Future to develop this optional test for concerned property owners. The purpose of this article is to bring this new test to the public’s attention, but is not meant as an endorsement.