In addition to meeting all safe drinking water act requirements, Great Lakes Water Authority carries out additional monitoring activities as part of federal programs and research initiatives, state-mandated programs, and voluntary actions.
Several types of contaminants of emerging concern (CECs) including personal care products, endocrine disrupters, mercury, perfluorinated compounds (PFOA/PFOS), PCBs, and microcystin are known to be present in the Great Lakes basin and have the potential to impact sources of drinking water. Some of these contaminants, including mercury, PFOA/PFOS, and PCBs, are listed under Annex 3 of the binational Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement, which requires the United States and Canada to jointly identify Chemicals of Mutual Concern that are potentially harmful to human health or the environment. PFOA and PFOS were also listed under the most recent iteration of the U.S. EPA’s Unregulated Contaminant Monitoring Rule, with which Great Lakes Water Authority is required to comply, as a wholesale provider of water. In addition, Great Lakes Water Authority voluntarily monitored for PFAS in 2017 and 2018 when PFAS was discovered in Lake St. Clair. Additional monitoring for mercury (every nine years) and PCBs (every three years) is also conducted on a regulatory schedule
In 2013, Detroit River source water was included in a U.S. EPA study on water treatment plants across the Unites States that had the potential to be impacted by pharmaceuticals in wastewater effluents. The study did not identify significant impacts from the wastewater plant effluent on sources of drinking water. In 2017, Great Lakes Water Authority participated in a Michigan Department of Environmental Quality screening survey for microcystin, a toxin produced by cyanobacteria and associated with harmful algal blooms. The survey results will help regulators determine the occurrence and concentration of the cyanobacterial toxin in Michigan surface water supplies.
By proactively monitoring for CECs, Great Lakes Water Authority is helping to drive progress for the Source Water Initiative’s fourth goal of mitigating impacts to source water from CECs.