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DEQ and county officials update Muskegon County residents on PFAS plume

people standing in front of a map
Bryce Huffman
Michigan Radio
Residents talk to DEQ official about the Muskegon County PFAS testing area

Muskegon County residents left a PFAS meeting last night with more questions than answers.

County officials have tested 92 residential wells near the Muskegon County Airport since August, and eight have PFAS levels above the EPA clean up standard of 70 parts per trillion.

Peter Van Heest, a Project Manager with the Department of Environmental Quality, says the highest level found so far is 563 parts per trillion.

Terri Edwards, a Norton Shores resident living near the Muskegon County Airport, has been living on a point-of-use filter provided by the county since the fall.

The county says she has to wait for the investigation to be done before she can get a long term fix. She doesn’t understand why.

“Why can’t I just be hooked up to city water?  They’re saying I have to wait for the investigation and that could be two years, three years, but why should I have to wait?” Edwards asked.

The county says municipal water is probably the best long term solution for residents, but it wants to wait to see how many residents need to be connected to city water before connecting anyone.

Marianne Oresik lives near the Muskegon County Airport, but hasn’t had her well tested yet.

She says last night’s meeting was helpful to understand the current state of the well testing, but she left with, “more questions than answers.”

“From what the officials said, I don’t actually think we have much to worry about. But you never really know. I just don’t want us to be the next Flint,” she said.

County officials say they will pay for filters for any home that has a detectable PFAS level.

State and county officials say 30 more homes will be tested, but there is no timetable for when those tests will occur.

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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