By SUE SUCHYTA
Sunday Times Newspapers
WYANDOTTE – A grant-funded study to determine the feasibility of removing PFAS – per- and polyfluorinated substances – from city drinking water was approved by the City Council at its June 26 meeting.
The city draws its drinking water from the Detroit River at a location downstream of a site believed to be releasing groundwater that contains PFAS into the river, and on at least one occasion PFAS compounds have been detected in the raw water entering the Wyandotte Municipal Services water treatment plant.
WMS applied for and received a $674,490 grant from the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy to replace some or all of its water treatment plant filtration media with granular activated carbon, GAC, to treat for PFAS. The grant has a December 2024 expiration date.
Barr Engineering of Minneapolis has been awarded the contract to perform a feasibility study, for an amount not to exceed $44,000, which will include reviewing the water treatment plant to determine its process flow, since a full set of drawings do not exist for the plant showing its hydraulic capacity, pipe and pump sizes, plant control systems and other mechanical and fluid systems. Determination of a proposed filtration process cannot be made without an accurate diagram of the water treatment plant.
The Barr Engineering study will also determine how to best utilize the Consolidation and Contamination Risk Reduction grant from EGLE. The intent is to determine the best way to use GAC media within the water filtration system to proactively address potential emerging contaminants in the city’s water system.
The study will ultimately determine the best way for the city’s water treatment plant to use the EGLE grant for a GAC-based PFAS filtering system that will benefit the city whether or not PFAS are consistently found in its source water supply.
The study will document the city’s incoming raw water quality and its outgoing finished water quality.
It will also determine the water treatment plant’s hydraulic capacity for filtration as well as its actual treatment capacity – how much water it can filter. It will also identify the chemicals currently used to treat incoming water.
The completed study will identify the best PFAS filter media for the existing plant, as well as the benefits and drawbacks of using each of the media types if PFAS are not found in the incoming river water.
The study will also report on the impact of changing the water treatment on water quality given the citywide water distribution system’s potential for corrosion and deposition, as compared to the current system.
The study would also provide a general assessment of the piping, pumping and process changes that would be needed in the water treatment plant to accommodate a change in the water filtration media.
Barr Engineering’s data gathering should be complete in mid-August, with the feasibility study complete in early September.