A new municipal water treatment system will serve residents in Grayling Township, Mich., for PFAS groundwater contamination nearby National Guard Camp Grayling, the first time nationwide emergency DOD funding has been approved for PFAS mitigation at any National Guard site.
The funding, already approved for fiscal 2019 and amounts between $5 million and $9 million, comes as the remediation project received a DOD designation as a “time-critical removal action,” according to the Traverse City Record-Eagle.
Local officials now face a deadline to sign a valid contract to design and build the new system before the end of fiscal 2020, according to the report.
The project is expected to initially provide safe drinking water to at last 17 local homes, though the number has been of dispute for hundreds of homes indicating some level of PFAS contamination and residents have been disappointed with advisories to use of bottled or filtered water, according to the report.
“While bottled water and filters are a temporary solution, we recognize something more durable needs to happen as we go through the process,” said Lt. Col. James Crowley of the National Guard Bureau. “Money for these types of solutions expire at a certain point,” he added.
National Guard officials have promised that when Michigan establishes enforceable PFAS-related groundwater standards, DOD will fund additional connections where wells tests exceed levels beyond the new state standard.
Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer has ordered the state to establish new groundwater PFAS standards, according to the report. Steve Sliver, executive director of the Michigan PFAS Action Response Team, said finalized standards are scheduled for April next year.
The PFAS contaminants are per- and polyfluoroalkyl chemicals, recognized by EPA experts to have links to cancers and other health problems. They are found in hundreds of household products and have been commonly present in firefighting foam used at Camp Grayling, airports, and military installations across the country.
Air National Guard photo by Tech. Sgt. Lealan Buehrer