May 04, 2022

Milford, Michigan, Experiences Drinking Water Contamination

The acceptable level of vinyl chloride is 2 parts per billion (ppb) or less, but last May a well that was monitoring contamination registered levels at 3.5 ppb, reported to Hometown Life News.

drinking water

State officials have ordered actions to mitigate contamination in the village of Milford's drinking water.

According to Hometown Life News, The Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (EGLE) ordered ZF Active Safety US Inc. to install a treatment system to address levels of vinyl chloride contamination. The contamination came from the former Kelsey-Hayes property, an auto parts manufacturer.

Kevin Wojciechowski, EGLE project manager, attended a public meeting held via Zoom that Milford water is currently safe to drink and is being sampled monthly. Vinyl chloride is gas that is produced industrially for commercial uses.

“Vinyl chloride has never been detected in village drinking water wells and treated water,” said Wojciechowski, reported to Hometown Life News. “It was detected in (a monitoring well), less than 200 feet from drinking water wells.”

The acceptable level of vinyl chloride is 2 parts per billion (ppb) or less, but last May a well that was monitoring contamination registered levels at 3.5 ppb, reported to Hometown Life News.

Joost Vant Erve, toxicologist with the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, mentioned during the meeting that the concern about vinyl chloride stems from animal studies, which shows that the vinyl chloride causes very specific liver cancers in animals.

According to EGLE, ZF Active Safety US has one year to install an air stripping system to remove vinyl chloride and safely discharge it, reported Hometown Life News. 

EGLE is now testing monthly instead of quarterly now. Levels have fluctuated from as low as zero this month and in late November, but have also reached above 2 ppb for six other samples.

The monitoring project began in 1989 when contamination was first discovered, reported Hometown Life News.

According to Hometown Life News, other known groundwater sources of chlorinated compounds in the village include: Coe’s Cleaners, for which the state operates a pump and treat system; a former dry cleaners for which the state’s system captures the plume; and the former Spiral Industries which has no known deep groundwater plume.

Permitting and bringing online a Family Drive drinking water wellfield are also in the works to protect the drinking water supply, which will use a $2 million federal grant.

According to officials, they can not fully replace existing wells, reported Hometown Life News.

Monthly sampling of the drinking water will continue and emergency measures will be taken by the village, EGLE and the health department if levels become alarming. 

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