LANSING — Last week, residents of two communities in Kalamazoo County were told by state officials to stop drinking their water because of PFAS contamination. PFAS contamination of water supplies has occurred in a number of Michigan communities with other communities suspected as being at risk. The Michigan Department of Environmental Quality is testing community water supplies throughout the state. Elevated PFAS levels have been detected at 16 locations throughout Michigan, including the former K.I. Sawyer Air Force Base in Marquette County. In response, state Rep. Sara Cambensy (D-Marquette) issued the following statement:

“My office has been working with the Governor’s office and the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality to better understand the risks of PFAS contamination at K.I. Sawyer. I’m relieved to know that PFAS chemicals have not been detected in the municipal drinking water at the former air force base. I’m also pleased to learn that the federal government has been working with an adjacent property owner to test and monitor their well water, which was the only property found to have elevated levels of PFAS in the area. A filtration system has been installed at the residence, and monitoring and investigation is ongoing throughout the area.

“However, news about PFAS contamination throughout our state is deeply troubling, with the state of Michigan issuing a disaster declaration for Kalamazoo County on Sunday. The current standard for PFAS is 70 parts per trillion which is above what the Centers for Disease Control recommend. House Democrats have a bill that lowers that level to 5 parts per trillion, which would do a better job of protecting our families and communities from PFAS. The MDEQ and the EPA must ensure the health and safety of the public in a prompt, thorough and transparent manner. As we continue to study the health impacts and prevalence of this problem, it is a wakeup call that our state must work harder to regulate polluters, fund municipal water and sewer systems, and ensure safe drinking water for all Michigan residents.

“If any HD109 residents have questions about this issue, they can feel free to contact my office for more information.”