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steve carmody / Michigan Radio

The City of Flint is getting a nearly $80 million loan from the state to fix its water infrastructure.

The zero interest loan will fund the completion of a secondary water source pipeline, pump station improvements, replacing water mains and improved water quality monitoring.

Jennifer Fassbender

State environmental regulators are nearing a long-awaited decision on a permit to expand a hazardous waste facility in Detroit.

U.S. Ecology first applied for a permit to expand storage capacity ten-fold at its Detroit North facility in 2015. But the application stalled in the face of major political and community opposition.

Map of parts of Grand Rapids, Wyoming, and Walker
Bryce Huffman / Michigan Radio

State and local officials updated some Grand Rapids residents about possible air pollution in the southwest area of the city on Wednesday night.

The company Viant Medical uses a chemical called ethylene oxide to sterilize medical equipment.

Saugatuck Dunes
Wikimedia / http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

Governor Gretchen Whitmer is trying again to restructure the state Department of Environmental Quality. Whitmer signed a second executive order on Thursday to restructure the DEQ after the Legislature voted to overturn the initial order last week.

people standing in front of a map
Bryce Huffman / Michigan Radio

Muskegon County residents left a PFAS meeting last night with more questions than answers.

County officials have tested 92 residential wells near the Muskegon County Airport since August, and eight have PFAS levels above the EPA clean up standard of 70 parts per trillion.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

The dispute between Michigan’s Democratic governor and Republican legislative leaders over revamping the state’s environmental regulatory department is set to begin another round.

Republican lawmakers have already thwarted Governor Gretchen Whitmer’s first attempt to use an executive order to overhaul the Department of Environmental Quality. GOP lawmakers were critical of Whitmer’s decision to eliminate panels created by state lawmakers to oversee the agency’s decisions.

flickr/ruimc / https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/2.0/

The city of Battle Creek could be the latest in Michigan to move forward on replacing water pipes that contain lead. City Commissioners are scheduled to vote Tuesday on a contract to replace the pipes at 93 addresses across the city. The city is deciding whether to spend $311,670 for the work.

a side by side of Dan Kildee and then a river with pfas foam on it
dankildee.house.gov / Lester Graham

Today on Stateside, the EPA on Thursday released a plan to deal with contamination from per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances – better known as PFAS. U.S. Rep. Dan Kildee says the plan shows the agency is “dragging their feet.” Plus, what it’s like to straddle two worlds as the first person in your family to go to college.

The MDEQ's Bay City Business Center
Michigan Department of Environmental Quality

Governor Gretchen Whitmer wants to re-organize the department that enforces environmental rules. Senate Republicans are opposed to the Democratic governor's executive order to do that.

The Republican-led state Senate Oversight Committee has 60 days to make its recommendation on whether the Senate should accept or reject the order, one of the first signed by Whitmer since she took office.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

New data shows elevated levels of PFAS in sewers passing through the old Buick City site in Flint.

PFAS are a family of chemicals that have been linked to serious health concerns.   

The term PFAS refers specifically to per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, (the term “PFCs,” or perfluorinated chemicals is also sometimes used).

persons feet next to a manhole cover that reads "storm water"
Unsplash

Today on Stateside, Congressman John Dingell passed away Thursday. Two of his longtime friends from across the aisle, U.S. Rep. Fred Upton and Detroit News columnist Nolan Finley, reflect on the legacy of “the Dean.” Plus, Republicans push back against Governor Gretchen Whitmer’s attempts to restructure the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality. And we end the week with a cocktail that sounds like spring, but tastes like winter citrus.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

The latest testing shows the level of lead in Flint’s tap water has declined again.

Flint’s drinking water has been closely tested since the height of the city’s water crisis.   

In early 2016, the highest risk homes, with lead service lines, were testing at 20 parts per billion.  The federal action level for lead is 15 parts per billion. The latest testing found four parts per billion in the 90th percentile of the highest risk homes

Bottled Water
Mark Brush / Michigan Radio

It’s been more than four years since the city of Flint switched its water source to the Flint River. That decision, along with the lack of adequate corrosion control, would contaminate the city’s water supply with dangerously high levels of lead. 

Map of Muskegon County PFAS testing area
Michigan Department of Environmental Quality

Health officials in Muskegon County have found 20 more wells with detectable levels of PFAS chemicals.

The county is testing in the area surrounding the Muskegon County Airport because PFAS chemicals have previously been found in wells there.

More than 110 wells have already been tested, and five homes had PFAS levels above the EPA advisory level of 70 parts per trillion.

michigan state capitol building
Brian Charles Watson / wikimedia commons

Eighty employees of the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality wrote a letter asking Governor Snyder to veto a bill changing how Michigan handles hazardous substances. The group says they're concerned citizens who happen to be employees of the DEQ.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

The city of Flint has reached a deal with the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality on an agreement concerning oversight of the city’s water system.

The voluntary agreement announced Monday comes after months of disagreement over the MDEQ’s insistence on greater oversight of Flint’s water system.

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

Water running from tap
jordanmrcai / Creative Commons

Residents in two West Michigan townships with PFAS contamination could end up paying to be connected to city water.

Officials from Plainfield and Algoma Townships say shoe manufacturer Wolverine Worldwide ended talks that included a plan to pay for the city water extension, but a representative from the company denies ending the talks.

Do not eat the fish because of pfas sign
Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

How well has the State of Michigan responded to the problem of PFAS contamination of our groundwater? That was the focus of a Grand Rapids hearing Tuesday convened by U.S. Senator Gary Peters, D-Mich.

Dustin Dwyer / Michigan Radio

A scientist at the state Department of Environmental Quality says he felt like he was “at the edge of the abyss” when he first realized the possible effects of widespread PFAS contamination in Michigan.

Robert Delaney made the comments at a public hearing in Grand Rapids on Tuesday, hosted by Senator Gary Peters.

Delaney wrote a report on the potential harm from PFAS chemicals in 2012.

PFAS foam on lakeshore
Michigan Department of Environmental Quality / Flickr http://bit.ly/1xMszCg

U.S. Senator Gary Peters is holding a Senate field subcommittee meeting on PFAS Tuesday.

Representatives from the Michigan PFAS Action Response Team, Department of Environmental Quality and some local officials will testify at the hearing.

MDEQ map
Department of Environmental Quality

Residents living in Cascade Township near Grand Rapids want more state action on PFAS contamination there.

The Michigan Department of Environmental Quality began investigating the contamination from Lacks Enterprises, a West Michigan auto parts supplier, at its former plating facility in August.

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. 

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