Test results of water foam have detected extremely high levels of PFAS in the Rogue River, officials confirmed on Tuesday, June 5th.
Following reports from concerned residents, the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality sampled surface foam collected below the Rockford Dam, about a block downstream from Wolverine Worldwide’s former tannery site. The results of those tests, which were performed in April, confirm PFAS contamination of 296,584 parts-per-trillion—more than 4,200 times the Environmental Protection Agency’s (“EPA”) advisory level of 70 PPT.
In response, state and local health officials issued a warning against ingesting the foam, citing concerns of incidental exposure to the substance. Residents are advised to exercise caution around the foam, and should avoid getting any in their mouth while boating or fishing.
Test samples of the foam were gathered in a shallow area due south of the dam, which is a popular fishing area. Back in March, officials issued fish eating guidelines for Freska and Versluis lakes after testing confirmed potentially unsafe levels of PFOS in many fish. Similar fish testing is planned for the Rogue River this year.
Scott Dean, spokesperson for the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality, confirmed the DEQ is working with state and local officials to conduct further testing along the Rogue River. Meanwhile, the DEQ will coordinate efforts with the EPA later this summer.