May 11, 2021

3M Sues Michigan for PFAS Drinking Water Limits

3M has sued the state of Michigan for the state’s new drinking water limits for per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS).

michigan water

3M has sued the state of Michigan, alleging that the state’s new drinking water limits for per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) were created through a “rushed and invalid regulatory process.”

The lawsuit was filed in the state Court of Claims on Apr. 21 and seeks to invalidate the state’s drinking water limits and groundwater cleanup criteria for seven different PFAS that went into effect last summer, reported Booth Newspapers.

The state MCLs restrict the amount of PFAS allowed in public water supplies and require regular testing.

The new rules took effect Aug. 2020 and were opposed by 3M, the Michigan Manufacturers Association (MMA) and the Michigan Chemistry Council (MCC).

The new limits are: 6 ppt PFNA; 8 ppt PFOA; 16 ppt PFOS; 51 ppt PFHxS; 370 ppt GenX; 420 ppt PFBS; and 400,000 ppt PFHxA. The rules also require PFAS testing and compliance from approximately 2,700 utilities, schools, hospitals and large businesses in Michigan that provide water to the public.

3M called the state’s rules “scientifically flawed” and alleged the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy (EGLE) did not follow proper administrative procedure, reported Booth Newspapers. 3M also alleges the state failed to properly evaluate costs of compliance with the rules for water providers who may have to upgrade their systems.

Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer ordered EGLE to begin drafting PFAS drinking water standards Mar. 2019 for seven different PFAS compounds following toxicology reviews that started in 2018 under Gov. Snyder, reported Booth Newspapers.

“Michigan’s rules providing for limits on PFAS in drinking water are a critical part of our state’s work to protect our residents from exposure to these contaminants,” said Michigan EGLE director Liesl Clark. “We take the job of protecting the public health seriously, and these rules are the product of rigorous scientific analysis, stakeholder input, public comment, and legislative review. We are confident in the process and the science that supports these important health protections for Michiganders’ drinking water.”

The passage of these rules marks the first time Michigan has developed its own drinking water standards for a contaminant. 

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