“BATTLE CREEK, MI — Two homes are being provided bottled water after high levels of contaminants possibly connected to a nearby military base were discovered in their drinking water wells.

The Department of Military and Veterans Affairs collected environmental samples at the Battle Creek Air National Guard Base starting April 16 to assess the potential for drinking water contaminated by  per- and polyfluoroalkyl compounds, or PFAS, found in firefighting foam.

At the same time, the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality tested 61 drinking water wells at homes within a 1-mile radius of the base.

Department of Environmental Quality spokesperson Scott Dean said results from 29 of those 61 wells had been received as of July 18. Of those, two tested above above the 70 parts-per-trillion EPA health advisory, while 11 others showed some level of PFAS but were below 70 ppt.

Five other wells not used for drinking water were also tested by DEQ. PFAS was found in two groundwater monitor wells at concentrations above 70 ppt.

Two irrigation wells had no amount of PFAS. The compound was detected in one irrigation well, but levels were found to be below 70 ppt.

A public meeting on the results is scheduled for Monday, July 30, at Burma Center, 765 Upton Ave. in Springfield. An open house will start at 5:30 p.m., followed by a presentation from 6:30 to 8 p.m…

A 2015 preliminary assessment identified 13 areas where firefighting foam was used at Battle Creek Air National Guard Base. At the time, 1,620 gallons of firefighting foam containing PFAS compounds were stored in several buildings.

According to the report, released in 2016, fire training was conducted in four locations from the 1950s through 1986. The report includes details of emergency uses and accidental spills of the firefighting foam…

This year, environmental samples were taken from 13 sites of likely contamination on the base. Samples were collected in April and through May 11.

A final report on PFAS contamination found at the base is expected to be released at the end of the summer, Layton said. If high levels of the compound is found, the investigation could be expanded…

A 160-foot-deep well supplied the base’s water until 1986. The city of Battle Creek supplies the base drinking water today.

Fire protection services at the nearby W.K. Kellogg Airport are managed by the city of Battle Creek…

Because the Battle Creek airbase was a known historic user of AFFF, Dean said environmental testing began on-site and moved outward into the community.

Wells were tested in Battle Creek, Springfield and Bedford Township. ..

Hangars which stored the firefighting foam, areas where firefighting equipment was tested and stormwater outfalls were also identified in the report.

Drainage from the base flows to the north and northwest, ultimately into the Kalamazoo River about two miles east.”

Read the full article by Malachi Barrett