PFAS Information


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​​​​ 919 Sunset Road, Ann Arbor, MI 48103

8 a.m.-5 p.m.
(excluding holidays)

24/7 water emergency line



Molly Maciejewski,
Water Treatment Services Manager


​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​Quick Lin​​ks

What is P​FA​S?

It is an abbreviation for per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances which are man-made chemicals used in metal plating and a wide variety of consumer products including fire-suppressing foam, carpets, paints, polishes and waxes. The most studied types of PFAS are perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) and perfluoroctanesulfonic acid (PFOS).​

What are the maximum ​contaminant levels for PFAS?

On April 10, 2024, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced the final National Primary Drinking Water Regulation (NPDWR) establishing legally enforceable levels, called Maximum Contaminant Levels (MCLs), for six PFAS in drinking water.​ Ann Arbor already meets EPA’s PFAS regulations as well as EGLE's regulations and produces water that is protective of public health

How does Ann Arbor Water protect drinking water from P​​​FAS?

Ann Arbor has installed granular activated carbon (GAC) treatment for PFAS, one of the best technologies that exist today for removal of PFAS. We are confident in this this technology because it has proven reliable for PFAS removal for many years in countless applications across the globe and is considered one of the best available technologies recommended for water utilities. Furthermore, we installed our own pilot filters, tested several GAC medias ourselves, and selected the GAC filter media that was most effective at removing PFAS. Our drinking water meets all of the EPA's new limits, and we will continue to monitor to ensure our treatment is effective at removing PFAS. 

We continue to meet all PFAS regulations in our finished drinking water, incl​uding EPA's newly developed Maximum Contaminant Levels (MCLs). We monitor our PFAS concentrations regularly with the best methods that exist, achieving the lowest possible detection limits, and we post our data for our customers to view on our website. We watch for any new discoveries in the analytical technology for PFAS and will evaluate newer methods if they are developed and proven to be reliable.  

Part of our approach to addressing emerging contaminants such as PFAS is to participate in research to ensure we are using the best available technology and tools to remove contaminants from our source waters.  Our research has not only led us to select one of the best available technologies for PFAS removal for municipal water systems, but has also enabled us to optimize replacement of our filter media. The GAC in our filters is replaced every three years at an average cost of $250,000 per year to ensure maximum PFAS removal. We will continue to participate in PFAS research projects to ensure you, our customers, have access to the best and most current solutions and technology.  

What are the levels of PF​​AS in Ann Arbor’s drinking water?

Ann Arbor already meets EPA's newly established PFAS limits​ and produces water that is protective of public health. 

Ann Arbor Water  monitors our source water, the Huron River,  and our finished water regularly for 28 PFAS compounds, including all of the newly ​regulated compounds. We post our data at the link on the top of this website as it becomes available. You can also view historical trends on our website, and can see the difference before and after the installation of treatment. Analysis times are often greater than a month, but you will find the most recent data we have on our website.  

​Where can I view PFAS test results?

The c​​ity publishes PFAS test data verified from an independent lab for our source water and finished drinking water on our Drinking water and Huron Ri​ver sampling data dashboard​  

Why doesn’t the city test for PFAS at my home?

PFAS concentrations do not change from the wat​er treatment plant to your home, therefore, there is no need to test for PFAS within homes.

What a​​re you doing to protect our waterways?

While we have been able to effectively treat our source waters to ensure the safety of the city's drinking water, the most effective tool to protect the city's water supply is to eliminate these harmful chemicals from our watershed. Unfortunately, the most significant sources of these chemicals come from entities outside of the City, such as upstream industry and wastewater treatment plants. The City and its local partners will continue to advocate for eliminating these contaminants at their source, so Ann Arbor water customer do not have to carry the financial burden of removing these chemicals from their water supply. While emerging contaminants may continue to be detected, our dedicated staff are prepared to not only face these challenges, but also remain an industry leader in pioneering solutions.​​​

Can people bathe and swi​m in water containing PFAS?​

The MDHHS has issued a “Do Not Eat Fish" advisory for the Huron River and advises people and their pets to avoid foam on the Huron River. Foam can have much higher amounts of PFAS than the water, and swallowing foam with PFAS could be a health risk. Swimming or bathing in water containing PFAS is not a health concern because the amount of PFAS is typically low compared to the foam. Although swallowing PFAS is the main way to get it in your body, an accidental swallow of river or lake water is not a health concern. Although current science indicates PFAS does not move easily through the skin, it's best to rinse off foam, including family pets, after contact and bathe or shower after the day's outdoor activities. None of this information changes recommendations for people's water used at home. The City of Ann Arbor installed hand-rinsing stations in close proximity to the city's canoe liveries in August 2019. These stations are in addition to hand-washing facilities available in public restrooms at the liveries.

For more information about fish advisories, see​eFish. More information about PFAS and foam is under the Surfac​e Water Workgroup section at ​

Does the City's Fire Department use firefighting foam ​​​with PFAS in it?

No, in the fall of 2018, the AAFD immediately halted the use of foam containing PFAS for traini​ng purposes and purchased an alternative option for fighting flammable liquid fires such as gasoline, oil and other hydrocarbons. The old foam was disposed of properly via a regulated waste disposal company.​​​

​​​​Additional information

To learn more about PFAS and what you can do to prevent being exposed or using products with PFAS, here a few good resources: