The Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) deployed this week a drone over Lake Margrethe to locate springs that could be carrying per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) from former firefighting activities at the nearby Camp Grayling military base. The DJI 210 drone is fitted with infrared cameras to find where cold springs enter the warmer lake. Identifying the flow of groundwater into the surface water will help DEQ target sampling sites for possible PFAS contamination, as well as assist in effective placement of treatment, if needed. While DEQ uses drone technologies to assist in other environmental investigations throughout the state, this is the first time Michigan has used thermal imaging for PFAS.
The activity is part of the state’s $23 million effort to locate PFAS contamination, identify sources, and oversee remediation activities. DEQ also is conducting a first-of-its-kind study of PFAS in public water systems (PWS). As of August 31, DEQ has overseen the collection of samples from 895 of the state’s 1,841 PWSs and schools that operate their own wells. The agency intends to complete testing by the end of 2018.
See more information on Michigan’s PFAS response efforts here.