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PFAS WaterThe Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) is reminding everyone to avoid foam on Michigan lakes and rivers known to have per and poly-fluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) in the water, including the Huron River. Foam on these water bodies can have much higher amounts of PFAS than the water, and swallowing foam with PFAS could be a health risk.

Swimming or bathing in water containing PFAS is NOT a health concern because the amount of PFAS is typically low compared to the foam. Although swallowing PFAS is the main way to get it in your body, an accidental swallow of river or lake water is NOT a health concern.

The amount of PFAS in lake and river water and in foam matters in determining if a health concern exists. MDHHS will continue to evaluate surface water and foam data and will issue further recommendations if necessary.

PFAS-containing foam can have high amounts of PFAS. Although, current science indicates PFAS does not move easily through the skin, it’s best to rinse off foam after contact and bathe or shower after the day’s outdoor activities. None of this information changes recommendations for people’s water used at home.

An MDHHS evaluation of how young children might recreate on lakes and rivers shows a health risk could exist from repeated, prolonged whole-body contact with foam containing high amounts of PFAS. Repeated prolonged contact is considered to be three hours per day, five days per week, over three months of a year, representing a summer season. MDHHS’ recommendation to avoid foam with PFAS is protective of everyone, including young children.

Additionally, the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development recommends that people not allow their animals – especially dogs – to come into contact with or swallow the foam. Dogs and other animals can potentially swallow foam collected in their fur when grooming themselves and should be thoroughly rinsed off with fresh water after contact with foamy water.

Not all foam contains PFAS. There is naturally occurring foam that piles up in bays, eddies or river barriers such as dams. This foam is off-white and/or brown in color and may have an earthy or fish smell.

PFAS foam:
• Can be bright white.
• Is usually lightweight.
• Can be sticky.
• Tends to pile up like shaving cream.
• Can blow onto the beach.

More information about PFAS

 

Do Not Eat Fish Advisory

As a precaution, some local health departments and MDHHS have issued health advisories regarding PFAS foam on lakes and streams. As of June 2019, health advisories have been issued by local health departments and/or MDHHS for the following waterbodies. These advisories are in place indefinitely:

Van Etten Lake, Oscoda. September 1, 2017
Lake Margrethe, Grayling. June 5, 2018
Rogue River, Rockford. June 5, 2018
Thornapple River, Grand Rapids. June 29, 2018
Huron River, Southeast Michigan. September 18, 2018

MDHHS has issued a Do Not Eat advisory for fish from the Huron River where North Wixom Road crosses in Oakland County to the mouth of the Huron River as it enters Lake Erie in Wayne County. This includes: Norton Creek (Oakland County), Hubbell Pond, also known as Mill Pond (Oakland County), Kent Lake (Oakland County), Ore Lake (Livingston County), Strawberry & Zukey Lake (Livingston County), Gallagher Lake (Livingston County), Loon Lake (Livingston County), Whitewood Lakes (Livingston County), Base Line and Portage Lakes (Livingston/Washtenaw County line), Barton Pond (Washtenaw County), Geddes Pond (Washtenaw County), Argo Pond (Washtenaw County), Ford Lake (Washtenaw County), and Belleville Lake (Wayne County).

MDHHS: Eat Safe Fish

 

Report Foam

If you suspect the foam is not naturally occurring, do not try to remove the foam yourself. Call the 24-hour Pollution Emergency Alert (PEAS) hotline at 800-292-4706 to report the foam.

When you call the PEAS line, you will need to provide the following information:

Your contact information (name, address, phone number)
Where exactly the foam is located (e.g. Lake Margrethe at Little Bear Point)
How much foam is present, length by width by thickness? (we understand this is an estimate/best guess)
If it is a floating mass of foam, which direction is it moving?
What time did you first observe the foam, and is it still present?
Optional but helpful: wind speed, wind direction, air temperature
Optional but helpful: did/can you take a picture of the foam?

Charter Township of Ypsilanti  •  7200 S. Huron River Dr. Ypsilanti, Mi 48197  •  (734) 484 - 4700

Mon. - Fri., 8:30am - 4:30pm  •  Closed 12:00pm - 1:00pm daily