Michigan Delegation Requests Strong EPA Role in Contaminated Wells
Thu, 07 Dec 2017 11:46:21 EST
United States Senators Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) and Gary Peters (D-MI) are primary sponsors of a letter encouraging a strong Environmental Protection Agency role to address ground water contamination issues near several military installations across the state.
Locations include potential contamination at the Phelps Collins Combat Readiness Training Center in Alpena, along with ongoing issues at the Former Wurtsmith Air Force Base in Oscoda, and Camp Grayling National Guard training base.
Chemical residue in what is commonly referred to as fire fighting foam (PFOA - Perflurooctanic Acid / PFOS - Perfluorooctyl Sulfonate) used at various sites is slow to break down in the environment. Chemicals remain in the blood and organs of exposed humans and wildlife for years. Exposure has also been linked to cancer and other health related problems.
The chemical was discovered in ground water at the Alpena CRTC, and testing is underway in an effort to determine the extent of the problem if any. Potable water has been made available to area residents near the area from Alpena Township ad the City of Alpena.
The full text of the letter and those legislative representatives who signed on to the request can be viewed on our news page with this story at WATZ dot com.
December 5, 2017
The Honorable Scott Pruitt
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
1200 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W.
Washington, DC 20460
Dear Administrator Pruitt:
We write to urge the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to continue to actively engage in assisting the State of Michigan’s and the Department of Defense’s efforts to address serious public health threats stemming from exposure to perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) and perfluorooctanesulfonic acid (PFOS) across multiple communities in our state. This problem is of such severity that the State of Michigan recently created a PFAS Action Response Team. We also believe that further engagement by the EPA on this growing problem is consistent with your stated goal of refocusing the agency on actions that directly protect public health and safety.
As you are aware, these substances break down very slowly in the environment and remain in the blood and organs of exposed humans and wildlife for years. Exposure to these chemical compounds are linked to cancer as well as thyroid, kidney, liver, and reproductive problems. Over the past several months, a growing list of communities that span the state of Michigan are uncovering alarmingly high levels of PFOA and PFOS in soil, ground and drinking waters.
· Tainted soil and groundwater in Western Michigan have been found to contain PFOS and PFOA concentrations as high as 37,800 parts-per-trillion (ppt), more than 500 times the EPA’s health advisory level of 70 ppt. In addition, PFOA and PFOS have been found in raw and treated water in Ann Arbor.
· PFOA and PFOS have also been detected in waters and fish across Michigan, including in the Au Sable River, Flint River, Kalamazoo River, Muskegon River, Saginaw River, St. Joseph River, Tahquamenon River, Dead River, Thunder Bay River, Rogue River and St. Marys River; as well as in parts of Lake Michigan, Lake Huron, and Lake Erie.
· PFOA and PFOS from Aqueous Film Forming Foam (AFFF) used at active and decommissioned military bases have leached on and off-base. In Oscoda, PFOS has been identified in a lake near a legacy Air Force base at levels that reportedly exceed 100,000 ppt, as well as in private drinking wells of surrounding homes. These chemicals have also been discovered in and around Camp Grayling National Guard training base in Grayling and in private drinking wells near the former K.I. Sawyer Air Force base in Marquette.
Thank you for your consideration of this request and for providing our offices with information on EPA’s engagement on this matter to date.
We look forward to your expedient response.
Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) - Gary Peters (D-MI)
Fred Upton (MI-06), Dan Kildee (MI-05), Dave Trott (MI-11), Debbie Dingell (MI-12), Sander Levin (MI-09), Jack Bergman (MI-01), Paul Mitchell (MI-10), Brenda Lawrence (MI-14), Tim Walberg (MI-07), Justin Amash (MI-03), Mike Bishop (MI-08), and Bill Huizenga (MI-02).