Widespread testing in recent years has found high levels of PFAS in many public water systems. They’re called “forever chemicals” because they don’t degrade in the environment. The coal plant, northwest of Grand Rapids, was demolished in February and the utility has been preparing the site for new uses.
Routine testing in June by the Grand Haven Board of Light and Power revealed the presence of PFAS at the old J.B. Sims Generating Station on Harbor Island, WOOD-TV reported Friday.
PFAS — perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances — refers to thousands of man-made compounds used in countless products, including nonstick cookware, water-repellent sports gear, cosmetics and grease-resistant food packaging, along with firefighting foams. Grand Haven officials are working with state and federal agencies, including the Environment Protection Agency, on a plan to contain the chemicals.
“Discovering (PFAS) here was new information for us, but we weren’t too surprised because we know that that’s a contaminant of emerging concern that’s present in our region,” Grand Haven city manager Patrick McGinnis said. “We again are testing our water every month to make sure we’re not getting it into our water supply,” he added. “We were required to check it quarterly, but we just switched to monthly.”
The J.B. Sims No. 3 power unit opened in 1983. Two other units were shut down a couple years later, according to MLive.com.
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