MDEQ | Michigan Radio
WUOMFM

MDEQ

Bill Schuette
Bill Schuette / Facebook.com

Has Attorney General Bill Schuette done enough to fight PFAS contamination in Michigan? Some people don’t think so.

Tracy Breihof, a Belmont resident who lives near the Wolverine Worldwide House Street PFAS dump site, spoke at an event on Wednesday organized by the Michigan Democratic Party. She says PFAS doesn’t seem to be a priority for Schuette.

Federal, state, and local officials sitting at a roundtable meeting
Bryce Huffman / Michigan Radio

Officials from the EPA, the Michigan PFAS Action Response Team and Michigan Department of Health and Human Services met in Kalamazoo to discuss PFAS chemicals, but only a handful of selected speakers could ask questions and share their thoughts.

Many of the speakers, including officials from Ann Arbor, Parchment, and Oscoda, want the EPA and other federal agencies to move faster to solve the issue.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

The Environmental Protection Agency has approved a plan that will allow the city of Flint to spend millions of dollars to replace thousands of water meters. 

The money is coming from $120 million set aside by the federal and state governments to help Flint recover from its water crisis.

Flint Chief Financial Officer Hughey Newsome says the new meters should help the city improve its water bill collections and reduce water theft. Newsome admits right now they’re not sure where all the city water is going.

the flint river
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

 


Yesterday, MLive's Ron Fonger published a story detailing what the state knew about PFAS levels in the Flint River before the city switched its water source. 

flint symbol
steve carmody / Michigan Radio

This post was updated August 13 at 9:45am with additional information from the MDEQ. 

Tech. Sgt. David Speicher / U.S. Air Force

U.S. military officials say they're willing to pay for clean drinking water for people near Battle Creek, if tests show groundwater contamination comes from its base there.

Volunteers pass out cases of bottled water at Parchment High School.
Bryce Huffman / Michigan Radio

Residents have been lining up to get cases of free bottled water in a Kalamazoo County community.

The state Department of Environmental Quality discovered high levels of contaminants known as PFAS in Parchment city water late last week. The problem also affects some residents in Cooper Township on the same water supply.

Lots of people living in the area have little to no information about these chemicals aside from what they’ve heard on the evening news.

US Ecology exterior
Jennifer Fassbender

US Ecology, an Idaho-based company, is close to receiving approval for a large expansion of its hazardous waste facility on Detroit’s east side, near Hamtramck.

The expansion would increase the facility’s storage capacity nine-fold, from 76,000 to 677,000 gallons. 

Michigan Air National Guard A-10 Thunderbolt IIs and a KC-135 Stratotanker fly over their home station of Selfridge Air National Guard Base along the shore of Lake St. Clair in Macomb County, Mich.
Master Sgt. Elizabeth Hollicker / U.S. Air National Guard

 


 New reporting from MLive has found that Selfridge Air National Guard Base is a major source of chemical contamination in the Clinton River and Lake St. Clair.

MLive reporter Garrett Ellison filed a Freedom of Information Act requst to obtain the results of water testing done by the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality at the site in February.

This data indicated five stormwater drainage outfalls near the air base had tested positive for per- and polyfluoroalkyl – or PFAS – contamination. 

Downtown Battle Creek
battlecreekcvb / flickr

The state found two private drinking wells in Battle Creek with high levels of PFAS.

The Department of Environmental Quality tested wells near the Air National Guard base in Battle Creek. The state was already aware that firefighting foam containing PFAS was used on the base for decades.

PFAS have been linked to several health issues, including testicular and kidney cancer.

Scott Dean, communications director with the DEQ, says the department will continue testing.

MDEQ map
Bryce Huffman / Michigan Radio

In response to concerns about groundwater contamination, the city of Kalamazoo told Richland Township residents Wednesday night it could extend its water system to the township. 

The DEQ PFAS Investigation Map near Rockford, MI
From Google map provided by Wolverine Worldwide

 

There are calls today for a state investigation into why the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality apparently failed to act on a warning of PFAS contamination written in 2012.

Studies suggest that PFAS exposure is linked to some cancers, thyroid problems, higher cholesterol and other diseases.

Sewer cover
user greg l / wikimedia commons

Officials say about 2.5 million gallons (9.5 million liters) of partially treated sewage recently flowed from a lagoon at a mobile home park in mid-Michigan into the Grand River.

WOOD-TV says a report to the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality by the operator of the lagoon near Portland, about 100 miles (161 kilometers) northwest of Detroit, blamed it on a "miscommunication/oversight between (the) contractor and waste water operator."

A box of Ice Mountain brand water bottles
Steven Depolo / http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

Many residents were outraged when the state granted Nestlé a permit to significantly increase the amount of water it pumps out of a well near Evart, Michigan.

More than 80,000 people submitted public comments opposing the decision. The environmental group Michigan Citizens for Water Conservation has since challenged that permit.

Red Lion restaurant sign in Grand Rapids
Rolin Stone Timmerman - Flickr / https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/

A $330,000 state grant will help redevelop a contaminated site in Grand Rapids.

The Michigan Department of Environmental Quality approved the grant for the brownfield site earlier this week.

Kara Wood, who oversees the city’s Brownfield Redevelopment Authority, says the grant moves the project forward.

“So this approval helps them cross that starting line to get started on those environmental activities in order to demolish the building and construct the project that they intend to build,” Wood said.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

There’s an escalating dispute between Flint and state officials over issues with the city’s water system.

The dispute dates back to August 2017, when the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality informed the city of more than a dozen problems with Flint’s water system.

Lindsey Smith / Michigan Radio

Despite overwhelming disapproval by the public, the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality approved a permit allowing Nestlé to increase the amount of water it pumps out of a well in Osceola Township.

Nestlé bottles that water for its Ice Mountain brand.

Now, the Michigan Citizens for Water Conservation is contesting that permit.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

It’s back to court Monday for four defendants in the Flint water crisis investigation.

At the time of Flint’s ill-fated drinking water switch, district supervisor Stephen Busch, Community Drinking Water Unit specialist Patrick Cook, district engineer Michael Prysby, and chief of the office of Drinking Water and Municipal Assistance Liane Shekter Smith were responsible for overseeing Flint’s water system for the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality.  

They are now facing a variety of charges related to the city’s water crisis.

Water faucet
user william_warby / Flickr http://bit.ly/1xMszCg

A recent report and interactive map shows that Michigan is the nationwide leader for known PFAS contamination sites.

Michigan leads the country with 28 known contamination sites in at least 15 communities.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

Four current and former Michigan Department of Environmental Quality employees criminally charged in the Flint water crisis are scheduled to return to court Monday.

A packed public comments hearing on the recent Nestle permit.
Lindsey Smith / Michigan Radio

Earlier this month, the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality approved a permit that allows the Nestle Corporation to pump up to 400 gallons of groundwater per minute to feed its bottled water operations in Osceola County.

Lindsey Smith / Michigan Radio

Last week, Michigan Radio published a story about the Village of Beverly Hills, Michigan; a Detroit suburb located in southern Oakland County. The village currently has the highest 90th percentile for lead in water in the state.

NASA Goddard Space Flight Center / FLICKR - http://bit.ly/1xMszCg

The Michigan Department of Environmental Quality approved a permit for Nestlé to increase pumping out water from 250 gallons a minute to 400 gallons at a facility in Osceola County. That approval came after overwhelming disapproval from citizens. The DEQ says it must follow the law when making permit decisions, which would seem to get rid of necessity of taking public comment.

Vicki Barnett, former Mayor of Farmington Hills and a former Democratic legislator, and Ken Sikkema, Senior Policy Fellow with Public Sector Consultants and the former Republican majority leader in state senate, joined Stateside to discuss how effective and desirable the DEQ and public comments are, how the legislature should treat water resources, and how the decision will affect the state’s farmers.

Wikimedia Commons

Now that the state has approved a permit for Nestle to remove more water from its Osceola County well, opposition is growing.

Among the critics: Macomb County Public Works Commissioner and former Republican congresswoman Candice Miller.

Two women
Lindsey Smith / Michigan Radio

Jennifer Gilchrist moved from New York City back home to the Detroit suburb of Beverly Hills in 2016. She moved to help take care of her mom Joellen, a retired Detroit high school teacher, and to fix up her childhood home.

That’s when a plumber told them they had a lead service line.

Part of the new line 6B pipeline in central Michigan.
Mark Brush / Michigan Radio

State officials have given Enbridge Energy permission to install 22 more anchor supports along twin pipelines at the bottom of the waterway linking Lakes Michigan and Huron.

The Michigan Department of Environmental Quality issued a permit last week allowing the supports for Line 5 in the Straits of Mackinac. Installing the additional anchor supports will minimize the span distance within the Straits of Mackinac.

According to the DEQ press release, each of the 22 anchors will be installed using 10-inch diameter screws with a total lake bottom impact of nine cubic yards.

Department of Environmental Quality / FLICKR - http://bit.ly/1xMszCg

A state website reports there are 28 sites in 15 communities with known PFAS contaminated levels in the water. 

PFAS is an acronym for a group of widely used industrial chemicals known as per-and-polyfluoroalkyl substances. The department has been accused of being too slow in clean up and too cozy with polluters.

Water running from tap
jordanmrcai / Creative Commons

A group of lawmakers wants more federal money to address drinking water contamination around the state.

U.S. Rep. Dan Kildee and U.S. Senators Debbie Stabenow and Gary Peters included money for PFAS contamination in their latest budget bill.

The family of toxic chemicals, known as PFAS, have been linked to certain forms of cancer as well as other health issues.

Running faucet
Melissa Benmark / Michigan Radio

Two townships have joined the state’s lawsuit against a west Michigan shoe manufacturer.

Plainfield and Algoma townships are both being affected by ongoing groundwater contamination caused by chemicals Wolverine Worldwide once used at its tannery in Rockford.

Cameron Van Wyngarden, the Plainfield Township manager, says joining the lawsuit wasn’t his first choice.

John Westrock / Flickr - http://bit.ly/1xMszCg

 


 

New information has come to light about the way the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality handled an important warning on possible toxic chemical contamination of groundwater in Belmont, in west Michigan. 

Pages