“OSCODA – ‘Air Force fly right!’ ‘Today, not tomorrow!’ ‘Clean it up, now!’ These were among the numerous chants called out by those who participated in a rally, prior to the start of the June 6 Wurtsmith Restoration Advisory Board (RAB) meeting.

The Need Our Water (NOW) community action group hosted the rally, which featured about 35 participants toting signs with such slogans as, ‘Your Mess is Now Our Mess’ and ‘Don’t Hide the Facts! Fix it Now!’

Those who took part were stationed at both the entrance of the Robert J. Parks Library in Oscoda – where the meeting was held – as well as at the front of the building, to seek action on the cleanup of the per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) contamination coming from the former Wurtsmith Air Force Base (WAFB).

Practices carried out by the U.S. Air Force (USAF) when the base was active – such as the use of PFAS-laden aqueous film forming foam (AFFF) for firefighting training – has led to contaminated groundwater, the full extent of which is yet to be determined.

Rally supporters ended their demonstration at the start of the meeting, which was attended by representatives of such entities as the USAF, Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS), Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ), Congressman Dan Kildee’s office and U.S. Senator Gary Peters’ office…

Leriche called for more input from the public, urging those in attendance to meet some of the RAB members that evening, start communicating with them and express their concerns, so that the issues can be raised at future meetings.

He also suggested making an action item out of his request to have the MDEQ plume modeling report released. The document was completed last August and has been under review…

Bush then noted that MDHHS is finishing up its evaluation of the foam which has been appearing on Van Etten Lake (VEL) and has shown high levels of PFOA plus PFOS, with the latter being the predominant PFAS in the foam.

Once the evaluation is complete, Bush said a detailed, scientific discussion will be provided to the local health department.

In similar matters, Delaney said the MDEQ is contracting to have a pilot test on the capture of the foam. It will be explored this summer whether the methods for removing the foam are effective and make sense to do on a regular basis.”

Read the full article by Jenny Haglund