Read the full article by Lindsay Moore (MLive)
“PORTAGE, MI — Portage residents were given the opportunity to ask questions of city, county and state officials after the latest PFAS test results were released this week.
Roughly 50 people sat through presentations about what PFAS are, where the substances have been found in Michigan and potential health effects on Thursday, Feb. 13, at Portage City Hall.
In January, the city released information about the testing of 25 private wells located southwest of a recently discovered contamination site at Westnedge Park, 9010 S. Westnedge Ave.
Before the property along South Westnedge became a park, a municipal landfill and recycling center stood in its place. The site ceased being a landfill in 1993 and the city started clean-up activities in 1996, which were completed in 1999.
That corner happens to be where a fire training facility currently sits, leaving some to speculate that Aqueous Film-Forming Foam could be the root cause of PFAS contamination near the site.
‘Although the landfill is the focus of the investigation, EGLE has not ruled out the fire training facility as a contributing factor,’ EGLE spokesperson Scott Dean said to MLive previously.
Of the 25 wells originally identified for testing, three wells were eliminated due to opt-outs and outdated addresses, Kalamazoo County Environmental Health Chief Vern Johnson said. Those test results were released publicly on Monday, Feb. 10.
The 22 wells tested all showed concentrations of the combination of PFOA and PFOS — two of the larger group of PFAS chemicals — below the current EPA health advisory level of 70 parts per trillion.
One home in the 300 block of Calico tested on Jan. 24 had the highest test result for that combination, at 17 ppt. The property is down gradient from the landfill, meaning it is more likely to be in the path of the contaminant.
Portage Deputy City Manager Michael Carroll said he visited the resident before Thursday’s meeting to discuss the results.
That property will be hooked up to municipal water at the city’s expense because it lies north of the landfill and the city paid for other homes in that area to be hooked up to municipal water in the 1990s, Carroll said.
Before the meeting, the city hosted an open house with information on how to hook up to city water. It is estimated that 90% of Portage residents are already hooked up.
On average, the cost to hook up to municipal water is between $3,000 to $5,000, Carroll said.
The city plans to spend more — an estimated $8,000 to $10,000 — to connect the resident north of the landfill because the house is 800 feet from the road, Carroll said. Connection cost is dependent on the distance from the water mains to the property, he said.
Several residents attending Thursday’s meeting lived on the same street but southeast from the landfill. Many of them asked questions about if they could be tested again and whether the city will front their bill for municipal water as well.
The answer from Portage officials was no, unless data shows that those properties were at risk.
‘Unless some data comes up to suggest that there is a connection between contamination that migrated from the landfill site to anything up gradient then we just can’t justify that expense,’ Carroll said.
Officials are still working to be ‘crystal clear’ that parameters of the migration have been identified, Carroll said. After the latest results they feel confident the migration is only toward the north, he said…”