Senator O’Brien Monitoring PFAS Situation in Richland

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Senator Margaret O'Brien

Senator Margaret O’Brien

LANSING, Mich.—State Senator Margaret O’Brien said on Thursday that her office is closely monitoring the developing PFAS (perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances) situation in Richland, and is in close contact with affected residents and state and local officials as the situation evolves.

“Protecting our environment and ensuring clean drinking water are of critical importance to me and the citizens of Richland,” said O’Brien, R-Portage. “I am committed to working with the residents and ensuring the contamination is removed.”

PFAS are compounds used in many consumer products that have been discovered in groundwater throughout the state and nation.

The state Department of Environmental Quality recently disclosed PFAS sampling results from a location known as the North 34th Street site in Richland. DEQ sampling identified three residential wells and one Type II public water supply exceeded the United States Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Lifetime Health Advisory level of 70 parts per trillion. The affected locations have been supplied with bottled water, and filters will be distributed to anyone with wells found to have dangerous PFAS levels.

O’Brien and her staff are monitoring the issue closely and are concerned a 2012 report regarding PFAS was not released publicly. She and her staff are working with residents and encourage anyone with concerns or questions to contact her office via email at SenMOBrien@senate.michigan.gov, by phone toll-free at 855-347-8020 or at her Kalamazoo office located inside the Comerica Building at 151 S. Rose St., Suite 104.

O’Brien has supported efforts to better address PFAS issues throughout the state, including voting for a budget supplemental last year to dedicate $23.2 million toward PFAS response and mitigation efforts, laboratory and testing equipment, and water sampling. She also voted for the recently approved fiscal year 2019 state budget that included $4.75 million for public health departments to better deal with emerging health needs like PFAS.

“PFAS is a serious and emerging issue for our state and nation, and we need to continue to focus our efforts on furthering research and implementing a strategic response to additional contaminated sites,” O’Brien said.

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