Read the full article by Melissa Nann Burke (The Detroit News)
“Sen. Gary Peters is upset the U.S. Air Force says it’s using $13.5 million allocated for cleaning up drinking water contaminants at the former Wurtsmith Air Force Base in Oscoda to do further study, rather than “tangible” cleanup projects in the area.
The funding was part of $60 million that Congress provided last year to the U.S. Department of Defense to address contamination by certain perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances known as PFAS at decommissioned military bases.
Peters wrote this week to the assistant secretary of the Air Force for installations, environment and energy, John Henderson, asking him to approve short-term cleanup operations to protect community residents from the threat of further migration of the PFAS chemicals into the water supply.
He said it’s ‘absolutely unacceptable’ the service intends to do further study, noting the longer the Air Force waits, the farther the contaminants spread and the greater the cost will be because a larger area will require cleanup.
‘The Air Force has been taking far too long to really start remediation activities at the former Wurtsmith base. The folks in Oscoda have been waiting years. Ten-plus years. They’ve been doing numerous studies,’ Peters said in an interview.
‘The whole intent of this additional money and why I worked to get this money with others — this is over and above normal spending for PFAS remediation … was you would use that to actually start remediation, actually to slowing the spread of the PFAS.’
He said the Air Force’s treatment efforts to date would not adequately capture and stop continued spread of the PFAS.
Two well-known PFAS compounds, PFOS and PFOA, have been used in firefighting foam deployed for emergency response and training at military and civilian airfields.
Residents and activists in the Oscoda area are also unhappy about the development, urging the Air Force to stop the flow of PFAS contaminants from Wurtsmith into Oscoda area surface waters by 2023 at the latest…”