How to Read a Well Report

We’ve received questions from area residents whose wells have been tested for per- and polyflouroalkyl substances (PFAS) by Rose & Westra/GZA, the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ), and other reputable lab services about how to interpret the results.  MDEQ offers a fact sheet on this topic (click here), and we have asked our experts to provide some additional information for you.  In this post you’ll find a sample well test report, along with a description of the relevant sections.

How to Read a Well Report

The most important information from your water testing report is in the middle section of the well report, and includes the analyte name, results, minimum reporting limit (MRL), and dilution, each of which is explained below.

Analyte Name: lists all of the PFAS compounds that were tested by the lab.   The analytical labs use EPA’s modified method (EPA Method 537) to test for PFAS in your water, which provides results for 23 specific PFAS compounds.

The two PFAS compounds you should note are PFOA (perfluorooctanoic acid) and PFOS (perfluorooctane sulfonic acid). The results of PFOA and PFOS should be added together and compared to the EPA’s Lifetime Drinking Water Health Advisory Level of 70 ppt (see Result discussion, below).

Due to the pervasiveness of PFAS in a wide-range of manufacturing practices and consumer products, it is not surprising or uncommon to see trace levels of a range of other PFAS compounds in water samples.

Result: is the level of the specific PFAS compound detected in your water, listed in ng/L (which is the same thing as ppt).

PFOA and PFOS results should be added together and compared to EPA’s Drinking Water Lifetime Health Advisory Level of 70 ppt. Combined detections at or below 70 ppt are considered safe by EPA and MDHHS, and this level has a significant “safety buffer” built in, including assuming exposure for an entire lifetime, and that a pregnant or nursing woman could drink over 4 liters of water per day at 70 ppt PFOA/PFOS with no effect on developing babies and infants.  For more information, please see our blog post on this topic.

None of the results from other PFAS compounds should be added together or compared to EPA’s Drinking Water Lifetime Health Advisory Level of 70 ppt. This value is only for PFOA and PFOS. In the sample well test report, then, the relevant number is 5.1 ppt of PFOA/PFOS.

ND means that the lab did not detect that PFAS compound in your water.

Additional letters like “U”, “E” or “J” may be present and are called “qualifiers”, which just means that the lab was unable to detect the PFAS, or the level was so low that it had to be estimated.

MRL: stands for Minimum Reporting Limit, which is the lowest level of that PFAS that the lab can reliably detect.  These numbers may be different between different labs.

Dil.: stands for dilution.  This is additional lab information that records whether the sample had to be diluted in order to reliably detect the PFAS chemical.  A “1” means that the lab did not dilute the sample.  Any higher number means that the same was diluted.  This does NOT have any impact on how you interpret your results.  The final result remains the same regardless of whether the sample was diluted or not.

We developed this blog as one way for you to hear directly from us and you’ll be hearing more from us in the coming days and weeks.  West Michigan is our home and we’ve always acted responsibly and taken our obligations as part of this community personally – for over a hundred years, Wolverine has been not only a leader and contributor to this community, but we’ve also been your neighbor – that’s why we’ve taken the proactive steps we have so far and why we’re committed to seeing this through to the end.  We hope you’ll follow this blog, learn about what we’re doing to make this right, and hear the other side of the story.

We Are Wolverine.

Wolverine Worldwide Expresses Continued Commitment to Working with the MDEQ and EPA

Today Wolverine Worldwide expressed our continued commitment to working with the MDEQ and EPA. The anticipated agency filings will formalize processes for sampling, testing and immediate water solutions.

“We have been working collaboratively with the MDEQ and EPA to address their concerns and implement solutions to give the community confidence in its water.  The anticipated actions by the MDEQ and EPA stem from efforts already underway and formalize the work and testing already being done by Wolverine,” said ‎Chris Hufnagel, Wolverine’s senior vice president and head of strategy. “This is our hometown and these are our friends, families and neighbors.  We are committed to doing the right thing and seeing this through to the end.”

To read the full press release, click the link below.


Wolverine Working with EPA on Confirmation Sampling

Over the past year, Wolverine has been working closely with the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ) and other state and local officials to address water quality issues in our community.  Some of the actions we’ve taken include sampling over 1,000 residential wells for PFOA and PFOS, offering bottled water to all homes being sampled, installing almost 400 whole house filters at a rate of 55 per week, sampling dozens of existing groundwater monitoring wells, drilling approximately 20 new groundwater monitoring wells, and setting up a call center that has handled over 2,000 inquiries from community members.  We’ve taken these voluntary actions because we are committed to this community and to doing what we believe is the right thing for our friends, family and neighbors.

As a further reflection of Wolverine’s ongoing commitment, we are now working with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to facilitate sampling of several residential and groundwater monitoring wells, which will take place next week, to confirm the results of ongoing and prior sampling.  These confirmation samples are collected by EPA and sent to an independent laboratory to confirm that the results are the same as those received from laboratories used by Wolverine and the MDEQ.  The EPA expects to sample four or five existing monitoring wells at the House Street and Tannery locations, and approximately 15 residential wells.

Wolverine remains dedicated to working proactively with federal, state, and local officials to collect relevant, accurate data in pursuit of effective, long-term solutions, and we look forward to supporting the EPA’s work.

We are doing all of this because we have been here for nearly 140 years and we plan to be here for another 140 years.  We live here and work here – every employee at Wolverine cares deeply about this community, and we are committed to seeing this through to the end.

We Are Wolverine.

Wolverine to Sample Expanded Study Area

Wolverine Worldwide will soon begin sampling residential wells for PFOA and PFOS in an area newly-established by the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ) and located approximately 1,500 feet on either side of the Rogue River, running from our former Tannery south to the Grand River.  Wolverine and its environmental engineers, Rose & Westra/GZA, began notifying homeowners on December 19, 2017, and sampling is expected to begin in early January.  Homeowners are being provided with bottled water while waiting for their results, which we expect to be available within four weeks after sampling.

We will continue to keep the community updated about this issue through our blog at, and will post a map of this study area on our Maps section when one becomes available.