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Kalamazoo will extend water system to Parchment in wake of PFAS contamination

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Parchment residents now have a solution to the ongoing water contamination there.

The Kalamazoo city commission voted unanimously to approve a contract to extend the city’s water system to neighboring Parchment.

James Baker, director of Public Services for the City of Kalamazoo, says both cities will sign a contract allowing Parchment to pay for Kalamazoo water.

“Very simple contract in terms of municipal water systems and providing services across your borders,” Baker said.

Lt. Gov. Brian Calley declared a State of Emergency in Parchment after the state found high levels of chemicals called PFAS in city water almost two weeks ago.

PFAS compounds are commonly used in products including firefighting foam and in nonstick cookware. Some PFAS compounds have been linked to thyroid disease, high cholesterol, and testicular and kidney cancer.

Baker says both cities have collaborated well since the contamination became public.

“Parchment’s our neighbor and we’re going to stand up and do anything we can. That’s Kalamazoo, we help each other out. I know they would’ve done the same for us,” he said.

Cases of bottled water will still be handed out to residents until the contract is officially signed and Kalamazoo’s drinking water is getting to Parchment residents.

The state is still testing private wells in the area and investigating an old paper mill and nearby landfill as possible sources of the PFAS contamination.

Bryce Huffman was Michigan Radio’s West Michigan Reporter and host of Same Same Different. He is currently a reporter for Bridge Detroit.
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