Map shows Michigan schools, daycares with contaminated well water

Map shows every school, daycare and Head Start center on a private well that tested positive for PFAS contamination by the state of Michigan in 2018 and 2019. A clickable version with detailed information is below. (Data from the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy)

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At least trace levels of toxic fluorochemicals called PFAS have been found at 60 schools, daycares and Head Start centers drawing groundwater from private wells in Michigan.

The contamination data comes from a 2018 statewide testing effort undertaken by the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy (EGLE, formerly the DEQ) to search for PFAS chemicals in all public drinking water supplies.

The map below plots each school with any PFAS detection in its well water, both in the 2018 data as well as follow-up 2019 testing data for 26 schools and childcare centers.

The state has done quarterly follow-up testing at any school, daycare or Head Start on a well if the PFAS detections exceeded 10 parts per trillion (ppt) last year.

PFAS are a large group of synthetic industrial chemicals made with a varying number of carbon and fluorine atoms. For decades, the chemicals have been highly prized by industry for their durability and power to repel water, grease and withstand high temperatures.

Michigan is at the forefront of a growing national effort to discover and reduce exposure to the highly persistent contaminants in drinking water and the environment.

The state tested about 1,380 public water systems and 460 schools, daycares and Head Start centers last year. The schools tested were those using well water, although there’s potentially PFAS in the water at any school hooked to one the 62 municipal systems with at least trace levels of PFAS detection (those results here).

In those cases, regulators are focusing their efforts on the water treatment plant that serves the wider community.

Total PFAS levels detected at Michigan schools