Ann Arbor spending another $950K on PFAS filters for water plant

Ann Arbor spending another $950K on PFAS filters for water plant

ANN ARBOR, MI – The continued presence of PFAS in the Huron River means Ann Arbor is going to keep installing new filters to remove the harmful chemicals from the city’s drinking water.

The city is gearing up to spend another $950,400 on replacement carbon filters at the water treatment plant over the next two years.

That’s after already spending roughly $1 million changing out the plant’s 26 filters with new granular-activated carbon over the last year and a half to better remove PFAS. Those 26 filters now need to be gradually replaced with new GAC material on an ongoing basis, as the the carbon material loses its filtering abilities over time.

City Council voted unanimously Monday night, June 17 to approve a contract with California-based Carbon Activated Corp. to purchase 11,000 cubic feet of GAC each of the next two years at a cost of $475,200 per year — to replace 13 filters each year.

Council authorized the city administrator to extend the contract for up to three additional years if needed.


Ann Arbor to re-evaluate alternate drinking water sources

As city officials ponder the longterm future of drinking water in Ann Arbor, they’re going to once again weigh the option of alternate water sources.

The purchase is consistent with the city’s PFAS action plan to replace 50% of the carbon filter media annually, said Sarah Page, the city’s drinking water quality manager.

“GAC is a filter media used to remove poly- and perfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) and nutrients from the water,” Page wrote in a memo to council. “PFAS are persistent and bioaccumulative, and there is mounting evidence for the human toxicity of many of these compounds. GAC filtration is the best available technology for removing PFAS from drinking water.”

The city’s PFAS management strategy continues to meet the most restrictive public health criteria, Brian Steglitz, the city’s water plant manager, wrote in the city’s June issue of Quality Water Matters, a new monthly report about city water issues.

“We anticipate that new information on PFAS health impacts will continue to be released and debated during the coming months,” Steglitz wrote. “We are committed to informing our residents of new information and guidelines as it becomes available via monthly Quality Water Matters reports and our website.

The latest tests conducted in May showed total detected PFAS in the city’s treated drinking water down to 3.9 parts per trillion, from a high of 88.1 ppt last October. That drop is due to both better filtering and lower PFAS levels in the Huron River.