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The state isn’t done finding PFAS in Kalamazoo County

Water running from tap
Creative Commons
Water running from tap

Last summer, the state began investigating PFAS contamination is two sites close to Kalamazoo.

Investigations of the former location of Production Plated Plastics in Richland Township and the Crown Village property landfill in Parchment both led to news reports of high PFAS concentrations. And the state is still finding the industrial chemicals in groundwater samples.

The company Georgia-Pacific sampled monitoring wells in the city of Parchment and Cooper Township earlier this year. State officials say old paper mills in the area are one source of the contamination.

Results showed PFAS levels as high as 3,000 parts per trillion. Four monitoring wells tested above the EPA’s health advisory for PFAS, which is 70 parts per trillion.

Steve Sliver, the new Executive Director of the Michigan PFAS Action Response Team, says the state is overseeing Georgia-Pacific’s work in the area.

“And doing our own additional work to ensure that we’re identifying all of those sources,” Sliver said.

Sliver says the state could potentially expand the testing zone beyond Parchment and Cooper Township, but he didn’t give specifics on what the expansion might include.

As for Richland Township, the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy tested 115 residential wells.

Sixteen of them tested higher than the EPA’s health advisory and one tested as high as 2,500 parts per trillion.

State officials say the Kalamazoo County Health and Community Services Department have provided affected residents with bottled water, water coolers or filtration systems in both investigation areas.

Sliver says the state is still looking for ways to remove PFAS chemicals from the environment.

“There’s very few technologies that actually do that. They don’t biodegrade,” he said

Sliver says MPART is holding a PFAS treatment technologies roundtable next month. He hopes different companies and scientists can find a good solution to riding the environment of PFAS.

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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