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Well contaminants near Michigan military site deemed safe

May 30, 2018

ALPENA, Mich. (AP) — Tests showed that well water near a Michigan Air National Guard combat training center doesn’t have dangerous levels of chemical contaminants, Air Force officials said.

The Air Force found that any perfluorinated chemicals, known as PFAS, found in wells at homes near the northern Michigan training site were at levels that don’t exceed the Environmental Protection Agency’s standards for safety.

The testing came after the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality detected PFAS at the site last year. The chemicals are linked to a foam for extinguishing fires that the Air Force used from 1970 to 2016.

The sampling aimed to ensure a plume of the chemical contaminants didn’t spread beyond the base and pollute residents’ well water.

Base Commander Col. John Miner said that all 115 of the wells that were tested met the EPA standards. He said 34 had traces of the chemical agents, but they contained PFAS below the EPA’s health advisory limit of 70 parts per trillion.

“This was about our commitment to protecting human health from mission activities and being a good neighbor,” Miner said.

The Department of Environmental Quality worked with the military to test the wells, educate residents and implement the necessary precautions.

The contamination in Alpena is similar to contamination detected at military facilities in Grayling and Oscoda.

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