Read the full article by Brian McVicar (MLive)

“GRAND RAPIDS, MI — A push is underway in Cascade Township to connect 256 homes, in an area where toxic chemicals have contaminated dozens of wells, with municipal water service.

The township is seeking a $5 million state grant that would help cover the estimated $6 million cost of hooking the homes up to the city of Grand Rapids water system.

But, even if the township wins the grant, at least one hurdle remains: How will it pay for the remaining $1 million needed to complete the project?

The answer may be found in the outcome of negotiations between Gerald R. Ford International Airport and the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy (EGLE).

EGLE has determined that the pollution from the highly toxic fluorinated chemicals per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) was caused by the airport’s past mandated-use of PFAS-laden AFFF firefighting foam for training and emergencies, and it says the airport must help fix the problem.

The airport disputes that it’s liable for the contamination.

‘The wildcard in the whole puzzle is what is EGLE going to require of the airport,’ said Cascade Township Manager Ben Swayze. ‘What are they going to contribute to this cleanup?’

He’s hoping for a swift resolution. While the liability standoff between EGLE and the airport drags on, residents in the affected area, located between the airport and the Thornapple River, are ‘clamoring for clean water,’ Swayze said.

‘The township has put pressure both on EGLE and the airport to work though that process,’ he said. ‘Our residents that are in this area are clamoring for clean water. So, we’re trying to balance that issue with the fact that we don’t want to wait a long time for this to play out.’

Testing conducted by EGLE has determined that 40 homes in the area have PFAS levels above state standards, while another 222 had some detection of PFAS.

While the township initially wants to connect those homes to municipal water service, the end goal is to hook up all 475 homes in the neighborhood to municipal water.

Doing so would cost an estimated $13.2 million, according to the township. The Kent County Health Department has provided kitchen sink filters to homes with any level of PFAS detection…”