Read the full article by Garret Ellison (MLive)

“TRAVERSE CITY, MI — Do not keep people in the dark about potential exposure to harmful chemicals even if an investigation hasn’t provided all the answers yet.

That message was delivered to state officials by members of a citizen advisory panel, who sharply criticized the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy (EGLE) for waiting the eight months to tell homeowners about an investigation into private well contamination from toxic ‘forever chemicals’ near the Traverse City airport.

‘As soon as you are investigating, I would want — and I think most people would want — to just know that there’s an investigation,’ said Sandy Wynn-Stelt of Belmont, who sits on EGLE’s citizen advisory panel for PFAS response.

‘To allow this to go on for months and months and not notify people, I feel like it’s just wrong,’ said Wynn-Stelt, who experienced a similar disclosure delay back in 2017 during the initial stages of the investigation into drinking water contamination near her home from Wolverine World Wide’s House Street dump. ‘It’s just ethically wrong to do.’

Backlash to the state’s disclosure delay in northern Michigan bubbled up this month following a Feb. 28 report in the Traverse City Record-Eagle, which found that EGLE identified more than 20 homes near the airport at contamination risk last February, but waited until October to tell affected residents and start handing out bottled water and filters.

Michigan PFAS Action Response Team (MPART) leaders have defended the disclosure gap, calling it routine protocol to wait for investigation data before issuing public warnings.

‘MPART has followed consistent outreach/communication protocols for residents in communities throughout the state for several years,’ director Steve Sliver wrote in an email to citizen panel members on March 8, which was prompted by pointed criticism of the disclosure delay by Michigan PFAS activist and attorney Tony Spaniola in a weekend email chain…”