The USA Division of Protection introduced on Thursday that it is going to be taking further measures to expedite PFAS cleanup on the former Wurtsmith Airforce Base in Iosco County.
Undersecretary of Protection for Acquisition and Sustainment William LaPlante mentioned the division will set up groundwater therapy methods at two further Wurtsmith websites to cease the circulation of PFAS-impacted groundwater from each supply areas into close by Van Etten Lake.
Wurtsmith Air Pressure Base — situated in Oscoda in Northeast Decrease Michigan — operated from 1923 to 1993. State businesses first turned conscious of PFAS contamination in March 2010.
PFAS, or per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, are sometimes known as “without end chemical compounds” as they don’t break down simply. These poisonous chemical compounds have been linked to dangerous well being results together with varied varieties of most cancers, and are present in a whole lot merchandise similar to non-stick cookware, stain-resistant clothes, carpet and a kind of firefighting foam.
Sen. Peters stresses want for motion in Michigan on PFAS throughout listening to at MSU
In keeping with the Michigan Division of Surroundings, Nice Lakes and Vitality (EGLE), there are 286 PFAS contamination websites and areas of curiosity within the state, together with Wurtsmith. The USA Air Pressure (USAF) has been main the cleanup of the positioning with oversight from EGLE.
“Implementation of those new interim actions is a step in the suitable path for the Wurtsmith neighborhood,” LaPlante mentioned in an announcement. “Whereas I’m happy with in the present day’s tangible progress, we additionally acknowledge there’s nonetheless extra work to do, and I look ahead to constructing upon them as we proceed honoring our dedication.”
LaPlante additionally shared his gratitude to U.S. Sens. Debbie Stabenow (D-Lansing) and Gary Peters (D-Bloomfield Twp.) and U.S. Reps. Elissa Slotkin (D-Holly), Dan Kildee (D-Flint) and Jack Bergman (R-Watersmeet) for his or her partnership and advocacy for native communities.
Peters and Stabenow have lengthy advocated for cleanup of the positioning, with Peters, the chair of the Senate Homeland Safety and Governmental Affairs Committee, internet hosting a discipline listening to in East Lansing final 12 months to debate methods to enhance the federal government’s response to PFAS contamination.
Earlier this 12 months, Peters pressed Air Pressure Secretary Frank Kendall to decide to taking remedial motion on the web site with out additional delay. In an announcement launched on Could 13, Peters criticized the Air Pressure’s response to the contamination, saying the Air Pressure had but to implement a complete cleanup plan regardless of investigating the contamination at Wurtsmith for greater than 13 years.
In April, Bergman additionally pressed Kendall on the cleanup efforts, asking if the Air Pressure would decide to stopping the circulation of PFAS into public waterways and containing the contaminant inside the boundaries of the bottom directly.
“This announcement is a constructive step in our yearslong effort urgent the Air Pressure to handle PFAS contamination at Wurtsmith,” Peters mentioned in an announcement.
“I welcome this motion to forestall the unfold of those poisonous chemical compounds, however there is no such thing as a query extra have to be achieved — and the Air Pressure should expedite cleanup efforts to guard public well being and guarantee entry to scrub consuming water in Oscoda. I’ll proceed to push the Air Pressure to take further steps and maintain them – and different federal businesses – accountable to mitigate PFAS at Wurtsmith and in different Michigan communities,” he mentioned.
Slotkin additionally praised the announcement, however mentioned extra work wanted to be achieved.
“For a lot too lengthy, Oscoda and surrounding communities have lived with the impression of PFAS contamination created by the Division of Protection. The actions introduced final evening – including groundwater therapy methods at two new websites – are a constructive step ahead, even with way more work to do,” Slotkin mentioned in an announcement.
Gov. Gretchen Whitmer additionally launched an announcement applauding the Airforce for taking motion to mitigate contamination.
“Right now, after years of advocacy and motion by state authorities, our congressional delegation, and so many neighborhood leaders, the USAF is stepping up their response by taking further actions to sort out PFAS contamination round Wurtsmith Air Pressure Base and prioritize the well being and security of Michiganders within the space,” Whitmer mentioned.
“I’m grateful to everybody who fought so exhausting to get this achieved, and I’m grateful to the USAF for taking actions that help Michigan’s robust requirements towards air pollution, PFAS, and different contaminants,” she mentioned.
The Nice Lakes PFAS Motion Community and members of Want Our Water Oscoda additionally thanked the Division of Protection for taking interim motion to forestall contamination.
“Our neighborhood has grappled with PFAS contamination stemming from the Wurtsmith Air Pressure base for years, and this newest announcement is a giant step ahead for safeguarding our well being and cleansing up the Au Sable River, Van Etten Lake and Lake Huron,” mentioned Cathy Wusterbarth, co-founder of Want Our Water Oscoda and a frontrunner within the Nice Lakes PFAS Motion Community.
“Numerous conferences, negotiations, public consciousness occasions and steadfast advocacy led to those actions. We’re grateful for our members of Congress for holding the strain on the Division of Protection, and the devoted PFAS activists in Oscoda and throughout Michigan for holding this difficulty entrance and middle for our leaders,” Wusterbarth mentioned.