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Kalamazoo County residents attend town hall over contaminated water

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The state declared a state of emergency after it found chemicals known as PFAS at high levels in Parchment city water late last week. Officials say residents need to carefully flush any contaminated water from their homes.

Kalamazoo city water could be the best temporary solution to ongoing groundwater contamination in nearby Parchment.

The state found chemicals known as PFAS at high levels in Parchment city water late last week. It declared a state of emergency, and free cases of bottled water were made available for residents.

Parts of Cooper Township were also affected.

PFAS compounds are often used in firefighting foam and waterproofing materials. Some of the chemicals have been linked to thyroid and kidney disease.

Officials held a public meeting about the situation Tuesday night.

Scott Dean is with the Department of Environmental Quality.

He says residents on Parchment water will need to carefully flush any contaminated water from their homes.

“We want to make sure that people not only get their water heater flushed, but their ice maker, and just really all sources of water that are standing in the house,” he said.

About 1,000 Kalamazoo County residents attended the town hall meeting and many left saying they felt better about their water situation.

Robert Pakiela is a longtime Parchment resident. He says the meeting eased a lot of his anxiety.

“The people up there on the panel are pretty well informed and they’re letting us know what’s going to happen and what hasn’t,” he said.

The state is also testing private drinking wells in Parchment. Results are expected back by the middle of next week.

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