91.7 Ann Arbor/Detroit 104.1 Grand Rapids 91.3 Port Huron 89.7 Lansing 91.1 Flint
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Department of Defense wants weaker PFAS cleanup standards, says environmental group

PFAS foam on lakeshore
Michigan Department of Environmental Quality
Flickr http://bit.ly/1xMszCg
PFAS foam on lakeshore in Oscoda, Michigan

Environmental activists are accusing the Department of Defense of trying to weaken proposed new cleanup standards for a group of industrial chemicals.

The New York Times reports the DOD is urging the Trump administration to adopt 380 parts per trillion as the new cleanup standard for PFAS in groundwater.

The EPA has proposed setting the cleanup standard for groundwater at 70 parts per trillion -- the same as for drinking water.

According to a DOD report from 2018, the department’s recommendation comes from the EPA’s risk assessment criteria. But an EPA report from the same year recommends using a stricter standard.

Some scientists have recommended standards as low as 5 to 10 parts per trillion.

David Andrews, a scientist with the Environmental Working Group, says he finds the proposed standard "egregious."

“The cleanup standard for groundwater or ambient water, contaminated sites really, should be no weaker than a drinking water set, and no weaker than the EPA lifetime health advisory,” Andrews said.

Andrews says the DOD was acting irresponsibly when trying to evaluate a cleanup standard.

“And came up with a number that is moving in the opposite direction of independent scientists, state scientists and other regulatory agencies across the country,” he said.

The Department of Defense did not respond to a request for comment.

Bryce Huffman was Michigan Radio’s West Michigan Reporter and host of Same Same Different. He is currently a reporter for Bridge Detroit.
Related Content