Water Contamination



New information has come to light about the way the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality handled an important warning on possible toxic chemical contamination of groundwater in Belmont, in west Michigan. 

At least 14 communities in Michigan have water contaminated with a family of chemicals known as per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, or PFAS.

One of those sites, in West Michigan, has gotten a lot of attention recently. This month, the state abruptly announced a cleanup standard for PFAS.

But these chemicals have been a pollution problem in the state for years.

In Oscoda, some residents are wondering why remediation is taking so long.

Michigan has set new cleanup rules for chemicals that have contaminated drinking water sources all around the state. The chemicals in question are per-and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS).

They were used in firefighting foam and in a wide range of products, from fast-food paper wrappers to textiles and carpeting, pesticides, printing inks, and more. They have since been linked to some cancers and other health problems.

Money might be on the way to help fight perfluoroalkyl substances, or PFAS, in Michigan.

PFAS is a family of chemicals that’s been discovered in groundwater in 14 communities, and 28 sites, across the state. PFAS chemicals are used in things like flame retardants, cleaning products and food packaging.

Sue Leeming is the Deputy Director in the Office of External Relations for the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality. She said dealing with PFAS has been a challenge because it’s an emerging contaminant.

People in northern Kent County have been dealing with the recent discovery of groundwater contamination for the past several months.

Some residents still have questions about what caused it and how it could affect their health.

Researchers have found some kinds of chemicals are harder to filter from water.

These compounds belong to a family called highly fluorinated chemicals. They’re used to make carpets, clothes and cookware stain and water repellant.

They’ve also been used in firefighting foam at military bases and airports. Those chemicals from firefighting foam have contaminated drinking water around the country, including drinking water wells near the former Wurtsmith Air Force Base near Oscoda.

The Environmental Protection Agency just put out a list of ten high priority chemicals.

These are the first chemicals the agency will review for risks to human health and the environment under a new law that Congress passed this summer.