LANSING, Mich. — Sen. Jim Stamas on Thursday sent a letter to Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) Director Keith Creagh requesting a meeting with the DEQ, the U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural Development Office and U.S. Rep. Dan Kildee to discuss possible state and federal funding to address contaminated well water near the former Wurtsmith Air Force Base.
“I am working on both short- and long-term solutions for affected residents,” said Stamas, R-Midland. “The federal government caused this problem and they need to be held accountable, and I have already introduced legislation to require the U.S. Air Force to fix the water safety problem that they caused.
“However, I believe the next step is to meet with state and federal officials to talk about funding options that may lead to a long-term solution.”
Earlier this year, the U.S. Air Force and the DEQ sent some homeowners near the former Wurtsmith Air Force Base letters concerning tests of their well water. The tests indicated that perfluorinated compounds (PFCs) were present in the water.
The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) followed up with a letter recommending impacted residents avoid drinking their well water or using it for cooking. The DHHS held a public open house and meeting in Oscoda on March 23 to discuss the situation.
“The PFCs in the well water were caused by firefighting foams used at the Air Force base when it was in operation,” Stamas said. “While my legislation would help residents by forcing the Air Force to supply an access to safe water, I must also continue to look for a long-term solution for the Wurtsmith site and its impacted neighbors.”
Senate Bill 950 would require the U.S. Armed Forces responsible for an active or inactive military base to connect homeowners near a base to a safe, community water system if the DHHS has issued a drinking water advisory for the area and the U.S. Armed Forces acknowledges that the subject of the advisory migrated from a military base and is present in the groundwater.