EVART — Evart has PFAS but Nestle doesn't.
City and company officials say the wells the company uses aren't among the wells that showed low levels of PFAS in recent testing by the state of Michigan.
"The Michigan PFAS Action Response Team found very low concentrations of PFAS in two city wells that we do not purchase water from," said Arlene Anderson-Vincent, natural resources manager for Nestle's Ice Mountain brand. (Note: PFAS was actually found in three locations in Evart, according to data from the state).
And Nestle says the company hasn't found PFAS in its testing.
"Our professional staff tests our products many times throughout the production process to ensure that they meet Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and industry quality standards, as well as our own quality standards that often exceed those of others," Anderson-Vincent said in an emailed statement. "Even though testing for perfluorinated compounds (PFAS) is not required, we have tested for them, and have not detected any PFAS in our Ice Mountain® Brand bottled water."
Nestle and the city of Evart recently extended until 2040 their agreement allowing Nestle to pump approximately 170 gallons of water per minute through Evart's wells, though the wells Nestle uses pipe water to the company's transfer stations, not the city's water towers.
The test results that showed low levels of PFOA, PFOS and PFAS in Evart's water supply came from three Evart wells that were tested on Sept. 10. The chemicals were not detected in other Evart wells.
All of the detected PFAS levels were below the health advisory limit set by the Environmental Protection Agency, though that limit has been criticized by some groups.
Of the three samples in which PFAS was detected, all came from treated water samples.
The testing pulls water from municipal wells, but drinking water is treated at each well site, according to Mark Wilson, director of the Department of Public Works in Evart. Water is piped from the wells to water towers, where water from all the wells used by the city blends together. The PFAS level becomes "not detected."
The state's PFAS testing did not include the wells used by Nestle because those wells don't connect to the municipal system, Wilson said. He repeated Nestle's assertion that the company does its own testing.
"We go to great lengths and take great care to provide safe, high-quality bottled water products and to manage water resources in a sustainable manner," Anderson-Vincent said in an apparent response to a question about consumer reliance on bottled water for safe alternatives to the water available in their own communities.
Last Friday, Evart drew its own samples from city wells. Wilson did not know when the results would arrive.