USAF likely not to consider using Michigan's standards in PFAS cleanup for "years" | Michigan Radio
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USAF likely not to consider using Michigan's standards in PFAS cleanup for "years"

Apr 11, 2021

The former Wurtsmith AFB (file photo)
Credit steve carmody / Michigan Radio

It appears the United States Air Force is in no hurry to abide by Governor Gretchen Whitmer’s request to use Michigan’s standards for cleaning up PFAS contamination at a former Air Force base.

The former Wurtsmith Air Force base in Oscoda was a training center for Air Force firefighters. In addition to training exercises on base, the firefighters also responded to fires in and around Oscoda. But the foam they used to battle fires contained PFAS, a family of industrial chemicals that has been linked to human health problems.

Whitmer sent a letter to the Department of Defense last month. She invoked a federal law requiring the department to follow state regulations for cleanups like the one ongoing in Oscoda.

Mark Correll is a Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Air Force for Environment, Safety and Infrastructure. He says a final decision on using state standards is “years” away.

“When we get to final remedy and we’re looking at here’s what we’re going to do to address the source areas and all others, we will consider the state standards,” says Correll.

Meanwhile, the cleanup is underway.

The U.S. Air Force claims to have treated a billion gallons of contaminated groundwater.

People living in Oscoda have grown impatient with the Air Force’s approach to cleaning up the PFAS contamination.