3M Sues Michigan Over PFAS MCLs

Earlier this month (May 2021), 3M sued the State of Michigan in an effort to overturn MCLs adopted in August 2020 for seven PFAS (see below).

Michigan National Public Radio quoted from a 3M statement as follows:

“Environmental regulations should be set using established processes and rigorous science that provide public transparency and accountability for regulators. In its rush to establish these regulations, the State of Michigan acted arbitrarily without measured consideration of the scientific evidence, nor serious consideration of the costs, particularly considering the speculative benefits of these regulations’ enforcement. This lawsuit aims to prevent these arbitrary, burdensome restrictions from being implemented unless regulators follow prescribed processes for rulemaking.”

From Michigan’s Press Release here is part of the State’s response:

“3M profited for years from its sale of PFAS products and concealed its evidence of adverse health impacts from state and federal regulators,” said Attorney General Nessel.  “It is no coincidence that this out-of-state company is resorting to attempts to rewrite our state’s standards put in place to protect Michiganders from PFAS in their drinking water.  3M knows it is responsible to address contamination in Michigan and it has been unwilling to do so. Now, it wants to change the rules so that it can continue to shirk its responsibility to Michigan residents and to the health of the water resources that define our state.”

Michigan Press Release in response to the lawsuit:

https://www.michigan.gov/minewswire/0,4629,7-136-3452-558805–,00.html

Michigan National Public Radio article:

https://www.michiganradio.org/post/minnesota-based-3m-sues-michigan-over-pfas-regulations

Background

In 2017 Michigan created MPART [Michigan PFAS Action Response Team] in response to PFAS contamination throughout the State.  MPART consists of members from the following State government departments: Environment, Great Lakes and Energy; Health and Human Services; Natural Resources; Agriculture and Rural Development; Transportation; Military and Veteran Affairs; and Licensing and Regulatory Affairs.

In March 2019, Governor Whitmer directed MPART to form a Science Advisory Workgroup that would “inform the rulemaking process for appropriate MCLs for PFAS.”   In June 2019 the three-member Science Advisory Workgroup recommended “health based” levels for the seven PFAS.  Three public hearings were held on the proposed MCLs in January 2020.  In August 2020 Michigan adopted final MCLs for the following seven PFAS:

PFNA (Perfluorononanoic acid) – 6 parts per trillion (ppt)

PFOA (Perfluorooctanoic acid)  – 8 ppt

PFHxA (Perfluorohexanoic acid) – 400,000 ppt

PFOS (Perfluorooctanesulfonic acid)  – 16 ppt

PFHxS (Perfluorohexane sulfonate)  – 51 ppt

PFBS (Perfluorobutane sulfonic acid)  – 420 ppt

HFPO-DA (Hexafluoropropylene oxide or Gen-X) – 370 ppt

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About Dan Askenaizer

Dr. Askenaizer leads WQTS’ work on regulatory compliance support for many of our water agencies clients. Dr. Askenaizer tracks water quality and treatment regulations at the Federal and State levels and provides regulatory updates to our clients. Dr. Askenaizer has strong expertise in the development of Regulatory Monitoring and Compliance Plans (RMCPs), which he has completed for a number of water agencies. He has also been working on a number of projects dealing with the development of distribution system monitoring plans and review of nitrification control strategies. Prior to joining WQTS, Dr. Askenaizer was the Water Quality Manager for the Glendale Water and Power. Under his leadership, the Water Quality Group conducted a demonstration-scale study of chlorite for nitrification control and a pilot-scale study of biological treatment for removal of nitrate. Dan has 30 years of experience working on projects dealing with regulatory, water quality and public health issues. Dan has given numerous presentations at workshops and round-tables across the country for water utilities. Dan was instrumental in developing and implementing a Mentoring Program for water staff and was involved in a Sustainable Development team.