Aug 01, 2018

Emerging Contaminant PFAS Discovered in Parchment, Mich.

A state of emergency has been declared and Parchment is working to switch to Kalamazoo drinking water

Emerging contaminant PFAS found in Parchment, Mich.
Emerging contaminant PFAS found in Parchment, Mich.

The Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ) discovered high levels of per- and poly fluorinated substances (PFAS) in Parchment, Mich., near Kalamazoo. The state is supplying bottled water to residents affected by the emerging contaminant drinking water contamination while it looks for a long-term solution. A state of emergency has been declared in the town as both municipal and well water has been impacted.

MDEQ is working to find where the contamination came from and how it may have entered the community drinking water. The problem may stem from Parchment’s history as the “Paper City,” as a closed paper mill and landfill remains in the city, according to MLive.

“We know that papermaking is one area where PFAS historically may have been used,” Mark DuCharme, DEQ incident management specialist said. “We don’t know if Crown Vantage used PFAS.”

Water samples have been drawn from wells near the capped landfill and are awaiting results. Individual test results of the three groundwater wells that send drinking water to Parchment and Cooper Township showed one well with levels of PFAS 26 times higher than the federal advisory level, while the rest were contaminated about the advisory level of 70 ppt.

In response, the city of Parchment has begun the process of hooking its water system to nearby Kalamazoo, Mich.