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Toxic chemicals found in Negaunee Township private wells

NEGAUNEE TOWNSHIP, MI--   Testing of private drinking wells near the decommissioned Marquette County Airport detected traces of PFAS in the water.

The Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy tested 30 homes in May. Testing methods can detect two parts per trillion. Eight wells had detections of PFAS and one well was over the criteria for safe drinking water. Each residence was offered Aquasana water filters, which are certified to remove the chemicals.

EGLE will resample wells that have already been tested and try to sample those at homes whose owners didn’t respond to a testing request. That process will begin the week of July 12.

Steve Harrington of EGLE’s Remediation and Redevelopment Division says a permanent remedy, like a connection to a municipal water source, has not yet been determined. He says it depends on the results of further sampling and the capacity of the municipal system.

“Such things as storage tank capacity, elevated pressure tanks, potentially having to blast rock to extend the municipal system. So those details are going to require some engineering and planning to determine what the most effective extension of the municipal supply may be.” 

He says officials are looking at the direction groundwater travels and flow direction of surface water of the testing area, but he believes homes beyond the airport property should be concerned.

“But at this point, if you’re an additional half-mile away or further, I can’t really see any migration route for these chemicals.”

The former airport property contains five areas on 849 acres where firefighting foam containing PFAS were used, discharged or stored.

The area is listed as a Michigan PFAS Action Response Team “area of interest.”

Nicole was born near Detroit but has lived in the U.P. most of her life. She graduated from Marquette Senior High School and attended Michigan State and Northern Michigan Universities, graduating from NMU in 1993 with a degree in English.
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