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Military prepared to pay for clean drinking water if found responsible for contamination

Tech. Sgt. David Speicher
U.S. Air Force
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U.S. military officials say they're willing to pay for clean drinking water for people near Battle Creek, if tests show groundwater contamination comes from its base there.

Andrew Layton, a First Lieutenant with the Air National Guard, commented on the military’s liability in the contamination at a town hall meeting discussing PFAS in Battle Creek on Monday.

“We’re looking at the attribution for contamination, the Air National Guard is committed to providing alternative sources and working with our agency partners as needed absolutely,” Layton said.

The Michigan Department of Environmental Quality found contaminants from a family of chemicals known as PFAS in private wells near the Air National Guard base in Battle Creek.

Only one well of the 61 tested showed high levels of PFAS, but it was found to be nearly six times higher than the EPA’s 70 parts-per-trillion lifetime advisory.

PFAS chemicals were used in firefighting foam on the air base for many years before the military stopped using the foam in 2015.

Layton says testing results from groundwater on the base should be back by the end of summer.

It is unclear if Battle Creek will extend its municipal water system to homes in the state’s testing area.

Doug Tribou joined the Michigan Public staff as the host of Morning Edition in 2016. Doug first moved to Michigan in 2015 when he was awarded a Knight-Wallace journalism fellowship at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor.
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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