State Of Emergency Declared Over Contaminated Water In Michigan County

Local authorities gave out bottled water on Saturday after high level of PFAS found in drinking water

Communities near Kalamazoo in Michigan are dealing with chemical contamination of the public water system.

A state of emergency has been declared for Kalamazoo County over the health concerns in Parchment and Cooper Township, where water test results announced on Thursday revealed high levels of dangerous, man made substances known as per-and polyfluoroalkyl (PFAS)

The tested water was found to be 20 times the safe level for the chemicals.

Exposure to PFAS poses severe health risks and can result in low infant birth weights, impact the immune system and even cause cancer or thyroid hormone disruption, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) warned.

RT reports: Tests from Parchment’s water supply system showed a level of 1,410 parts per trillion (ppt) of PFAS, 20 times more than the EPA lifetime health advisory stands of 70 ppt.

Parchment, which sits on the Kalamazoo River just north of the city of Kalamazoo, has about 1,800 people. Once known for its paper manufacturing, the town’s water system is fed by three groundwater wells in Cooper Township, which encompasses a wider area, home to about 3,100 residents.

To solve PFAS contamination, the utility company began to flush the water lines in Parchment. The authorities also introduced controls to prevent Parchment’s water from reaching the wider Kalamazoo water supply system. Residents of affected areas are being advised not to drink the water until further notice.

Exposure to PFAS poses severe health risks and can result in low infant birth weights, impact the immune system and even cause cancer or thyroid hormone disruption, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) warned.

Frightened by the discovery that even boiling the water or using common residential filters won’t remove PFAS, locals have been asking the government about the extent of the contamination.

Recalling the Flint, Michigan, water crisis of 2014 where lead-contaminated drinking water endangered the lives of over 100,000 residents, Democratic governor hopeful Abdul El-Sayed wondered how the “state surrounded by 21% of the world’s freshwater” cannot provide safe drinking water to its residents.

While the state of emergency was declared in Kalamazoo County, chemicals have been found in more than 20 different communities across Michigan, in groundwater, surface water, as well as in the Great Lakes, local media reports.