Freshwater Future Weekly: January 13, 2023
This Week: REGISTRATION OPEN – Water Watchers & Wellness; Spread the Word: Increased Assistance for Water Bills Available for Michigan Households!; PFAS Update!
REGISTRATION OPEN – Water Watchers & Wellness
Kick off 2023 with a commitment to gaining leadership and self-care skills by registering for the Water Watchers & Wellness series! All you need is 1 hour per month. The sessions provide a space for water leaders to grow know-how that supports your work and meet others working on water issues. Another highlight of these sessions is time for mindful meditation and self-care with movement. See the flyer below for more details and register here!
Spread the Word: Increased Assistance for Water Bills Available for Michigan Households!
Low-Income Michigan Households could now be eligible for up to $1,500 in assistance! The increase in the Low Income Household Water Assistance Program (LIHWAP), a temporary pandemic relief program, is available in all states. Prior to this change however, Michigan had the lowest maximum benefit amount compared to other Great Lakes states. This maximum can also be expanded if an eligible resident has water debt greater than $1,500. Community Action Agencies (CAA) across the state are administering this program – reach out to yours today to sign up. If you know of people in other states who need help securing this assistance, email us at: [email protected].
Manufacturing Giant to Cease Production of PFAS Chemicals Within Three Years
Manufacturing giant 3M announced it will stop manufacturing per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) and stop making products with them by the end of 2025. PFAS has been widely recognized in the past few years, with the Biden administration announcing that the U.S. EPA would list PFOS and PFOA, the two most well-known PFAS compounds, as hazardous substances under federal cleanup law. Being dubbed as ‘forever chemicals’, PFAS do not degrade naturally in the environment and can accumulate in human blood. 3M’s decision is coming after a slew of lawsuits that have amounted to giant legal costs as more pollution is found. Unfortunately, the longer manufacturers use these harmful chemicals in products, the longer we will face health complications and cleanup efforts to remove them from our waters.
PFAS Pollution Plume Confirmed in Lake Michigan’s Green Bay
In Lake Michigan’s Green Bay, scientists recently found a large plume of toxic PFAS chemicals produced by a plant that manufactures firefighting foam has discharged into the lake. The plume contained 17 types of PFAS, at concentrations above 250 parts per trillion (ppt) and extending approximately 2.49 miles wide, although the length has not been determined.
PFAS concentrations found in the Bay far exceed the 0.004 (PFOA) and 0.02 (PFOS) parts per trillion set by the U.S. EPA as drinking water interim health advisory levels. Scientists used a chemical fingerprinting technique to trace the Green Bay PFAS to a firefighting products facility in Marinette, Wisconsin. Green Bay is a drinking water source for many communities (over 220,000 people). The impacts of this contamination are still being determined with researchers starting to examine fish from Lake Superior. Freshwater Future believes that more must be done to reduce the load of pollution coming from the Marinette source.