“OSCODA, MI — Michigan’s two U.S. senators have written to Secretary of Defense James Mattis expressing concern about a possible shift in military policy that would hamper efforts to clean up toxic firefighting chemicals polluting air bases in Michigan and elsewhere.
According to the May 10 letter, the Pentagon ‘may be considering changing its policy on compliance with individual state drinking and surface water standards for some contaminants,’ including per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, or PFAS.
‘We would have great concern if in fact the Department or any of the individual branches were considering this action,’ wrote Democrats Debbie Stabenow and Gary Peters…
The letter comes amid deteriorating relations between the state and the U.S. Air Force over the adequacy of PFAS cleanup at the former Wurtsmith Air Force Base in Oscoda. In December, the state initiated a formal dispute under a joint cleanup program, alleging federal efforts not adequately curbing PFAS plumes near the base.
Plumes from the base are polluting private wells and causing regular foaming on Van Etten Lake when the wind creates waves. The foam has outraged local residents, some of whom have formed the activist group NOW (Need Our Water) to push for cleanup.
Perfluorooctanesulfonic acid, or PFOS, in the lake water has tested at 254 parts-per-trillion (ppt). That’s about 21 times the state’s 12-ppt water quality standard for PFOS, one several PFAS chemicals leaving the base. July 2017 testing found lake foam with PFOS at 165,000-ppt, roughly 13,000 times the state’s enforceable surface water limit.
The Air Force says it doesn’t plan to clean up the foam and there’s disagreement between local, state and federal levels as to whether a new activated carbon groundwater treatment system planned for installation this summer will touch the plume entering the lake.”
Read the full article by Garret Ellison