Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), are a group of chemicals that have been classified by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) as an emerging contaminant on the national level. 

The chemicals have been used in fire suppressant foam at airports, fire departments and refineries, as well as in industrial chrome plating and apparel manufacturing processes.  They repel water and resist heat. PFAS have been found at low levels both in the environment and in blood samples of the general U.S. population.

The Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy (EGLE) has begun a regular voluntary monthly testing program of 1,380 public water systems to gain an awareness and understanding of the presence of PFAS in water sources and drinking water across the state. 

The St. Joseph water system was tested on April 24, 2019 and the results of those tests are now available.  The test indicated that PFAS was detected at the level of 2 parts per trillion (ppt) in Lake Michigan water prior to treatment, but was not detected in treated drinking water delivered to our customers.  The EGLE report and test results are available on the City website on the Water Plant page, and statewide results are available through the EGLE website at https://www.michigan.gov/pfasresponse

The current federal advisory level for PFAS is 70 ppt.  One ppt is equivalent to one drop of water in four Olympic size swimming pools.  The state is in the process of developing its own regulatory standards. For more information, please click here.

There is currently no monitoring requirement for PFAS.  However, the City will continue to test for PFAS on a voluntary basis and report the results on our website and in our annual Consumer Confidence Report.  Questions can be directed to Water Plant Superintendent Greg Alimenti at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or (269) 983-1240.

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