Michigan residents are staring down a new water crisis as the state is scrambling to combat potential health risks in water sources that stem from chemicals long used in firefighting, waterproofing, carpeting and other products.
In December of 2017, toxic chemicals have been identified at 28 sites in 14 communities across Michigan. Nearly half are on or near military installations where the source is believed to be from firefighting foam.” (Source) The main affected area is near Van Etten Lake. Other areas near WAFB are also being investigated.
“Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, or PFAS, have been detected at military bases, water treatment plants and, most recently, an old industrial dump site for footwear company Wolverine World Wide. The Environmental Protection Agency classifies them as ’emerging’ nationally. They have sparked enough concern that Gov. Rick Snyder created a state response team and approved $23 million in emergency spending.
What We Know So Far
The Michigan Department of Environmental Quality says private well testing results coupled with a site history that indicates not only that sludge was used as fertilizer, but there may also have been waste dumping in a nearby gravel pit necessitates the well testing. (Source)
Levels of PFOA and PFOS in the groundwater at Wurtsmith Air Force Base (WAFB) in Oscoda Township, Michigan are up to 10,000 times higher than the LTHA.
- Groundwater with high levels of PFAS might be moving off-base toward local resident’s drinking water wells.
- We know that the PFAS from WAFB are found at low levels in some private drinking water wells. We don’t know if the PFAS in the drinking water wells will stay at low levels. Also, we do not know how long PFAS may have been in the drinking water wells.
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