LANSING, Mich. — The Michigan Senate has enrolled Sen. Jim Stamas’ legislation to require the U.S. Air Force to cover the costs of fixing the water safety problem near the former Wurtsmith Air Force Base. The bill now heads to the governor to be signed.
“I have said all along that the federal government caused this problem and they need to fix it,” said Stamas, R-Midland. “The Air Force said that they would cover the cost of fixing it if the state required them to do so. I look forward to seeing the governor sign this legislation, which will hold the federal government to their word and force them to pay for contaminating the water of dozens of Oscoda families.”
Earlier this year, the U.S. Air Force and the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) sent homeowners near the former Wurtsmith Air Force Base letters concerning well water tests that indicated perfluorinated compounds (PFCs) were present in their water, although the levels for two PFCs were lower than the Environmental Protection Agency values.
The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) followed up with a letter stating it could not predict who may be affected. As a precautionary measure, it recommended that the residents whose wells were tested avoid drinking their well water or using it for cooking.
Senate Bill 950 would require any state or federal government entity that is responsible for a substance of concern, including the U.S. Armed Forces responsible for a military base, to connect homeowners near a base to a safe, community water system. The DHHS must issue a drinking water advisory for the area and the U.S. Armed Forces acknowledge that the subject of the advisory migrated from a military base and is present in the groundwater.
“All Michigan families deserve access to safe drinking water,” Stamas said. “This is part of an ongoing effort to ensure that affected residents have safe water in their homes and that the federal government is held accountable. Once signed, this measure will make sure that the Air Force covers the cost of supplying safe water to homeowners whose well water it contaminated.”