News Feature | August 6, 2018

Water In Michigan County Under State Of Emergency

Sara Jerome

By Sara Jerome,
@sarmje

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Michigan’s lieutenant governor ordered a state of emergency in Kalamazoo County on July 29 as a result of perfluorinated compound contamination.

The water was contaminated at more than 20 times the threshold set by the U.S. EPA, according to CNN.

“Test results from Michigan Department of Environmental Quality found water in municipal water system in the city of Parchment, which is located in Kalamazoo County, had levels of PFAS as high as 1,410 parts per trillion. The EPA's recommended limit is 70 parts per trillion,” the report stated.

County officials told over 3,000 people in Parchment and Cooper Township to stop using water for drinking, cooking, and baby formula, CNN reported.

“The city of Parchment pumps water from a wellfield near the east bank of the Kalamazoo River in Cooper Township. Two wells were built in 1963 and a third came online in 1973, ranging in depth from 51.5 to 58 feet,” MLive reported.

Bridge Magazine published a map of the many Michigan locations with a confirmed presence of perfluorinated compounds.

“The list of contaminated sites is likely to grow as Michigan continues to test all public water systems and schools that tap well water for the chemicals — a process it kicked off in May,” Bridge reported.

At the time the statewide study was announced, Michigan Department of Environmental Quality Director C. Heidi Grether commended her state’s response time.

“Michigan has moved quickly to protect people from potentially unsafe drinking water in communities with known PFAS contamination from historical industrial or military activities,” Grether said in a statement.

The threat of PFAS contamination has become a high-profile issue in the wake of revelations that military bases and factories have contaminated the water supply with these chemicals in various parts of the country.

“PFAS were previously used to make Teflon and other nonstick products in addition to other commercial applications. Exposure at high levels is linked to liver damage, developmental problems and some forms of cancer, among other risks,” the Associated Press reported.

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