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Congressman Kildee asks Air Force to help people with contaminated water wells near Oscoda

The former Wurtsmith Air Force base
Mike Fritcher
Flickr - http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

Congressman Dan Kildee wants the Air Force to do more to help Oscoda residents whose groundwater is contaminated by perfluorinated chemicals, or PFCs. The Wurtsmith Air Force Base used firefighting foams containing PFCs on its property in Oscoda for decades. The base is now closed.

Kildee sent a letter to the Air Force this week, outlining a long list of concerns.

“The main priority for us right now… it’s more of a short term question, is get people help getting a fresh water source,” Kildee said.

Chemical plumes in Oscoda, Michigan continue to seep from former U.S. Air Force base

The state is paying for hundreds of homeowners to get reverse osmosis filters or hooking them up to a different water source.

The Air Force claims it can only help residents whose drinking water is above limits set by the US EPA. The EPA recently changed those “health advisory levels,”lowering the amount of PFCs considered safe.

Kildee wants a better answer from the Air Force about what it can do to help people.

“We’ve been a little frustrated the Air Force has indicated, ‘well we’re limited as to what we can do.’ We just don’t accept that answer,” he said.

“We don’t ever want to create unnecessary alarm, but we don’t want to go the other way, and that is to not recognize the public health threat and get in front of it,” he said.

Kildee also wants basic information like the size and movement of the PFC plume and what is being done to stop it from spreading, among other things.

Lindsey Smith is a Peabody Award-winning journalist currently leading the station's Amplify Team. She previously served as Michigan Public's Morning News Editor, Investigative Reporter and West Michigan Reporter.
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