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Plainfield Township will add a $400,000 filter to get PFAS out of municipal water

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Lack of funds threaten to shut down a monitoring system for southeast Michigan's drinking water.

West Michigan's Plainfield Township wants to make sure the toxic chemicals polluting some private wells don't contaminate its municipal water system. So it's adding a filter to the water treatment plant.

The township's board of trustees approved plans for a $400,000 filter that would remove toxic chemicals called per- and polyflouralky substances – or PFAS – from the water.

The recent discovery of groundwater contamination in northern Kent County has led to multiple town hall meetings, a state investigation into the water pollution, and a class action lawsuit against a west Michigan shoe manufacturer and others.

Cameron Van Wyngarden, Plainfield Township Manager, says residents have been concerned about PFAS contamination in municipal for months.

“Well, we certainly listened to our residents. This is something we've been investigating for some time, long before residents started raising their voice about this,” Van Wyngarden said.

Although he doesn’t specify when talks about a PFAS filter began, Van Wyngarden says the township's water already exceeds EPA quality standards. “But we're not satisfied until we're assured that we're providing the best possible water to our community,” he said.

The EPA lifetime advisory levels for these chemicals is 70 parts-per-trillion. Van Wyngarden says the township’s water system tested “way below” the standard.

Van Wyngarden says the township is looking for ways to have Wolverine Worldwide, the shoe manufacturer believed to have cause the groundwater contamination, to help pay for the filter so residents won't have to.

“We have been looking into ways to get Wolverine to bear some of the costs, because Plainfield Township residents didn’t cause this issue, but Plainfield Township residents have to live with it,” he said. 

Bryce Huffman was Michigan Radio’s West Michigan Reporter and host of Same Same Different. He is currently a reporter for Bridge Detroit.
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