CASCADE TOWNSHIP, Mich. (AP) — Residents living near an airport in western Michigan will have to wait months to learn how much chemical contaminants from toxic firefighting foam have seeped into their groundwater.
Officials at the Gerald R. Ford International Airport released a letter Thursday saying they don’t expect to receive results of testing for per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, known as PFAS, until June. Airport authorities say they won’t share the results until they’re verified later this summer.
The airport southeast of Grand Rapids also objected to the state’s request for an investigation into the PFAS-tainted firefighting foam used for several decades, mostly for training. Airport officials deny using foam made with hazardous chemicals.
Facilities manager Casey Ries questioned the state’s authority to regulate PFAS in the letter, saying that the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality is attempting to retroactively “enforce rules not promulgated in full compliance with Michigan administrative law.”
Most Read Nation & World Stories
- 5 things about COVID we still don't understand — at our peril
- Trump reportedly admitted taking Kim Jong Un letters from White House
- What are ultra-processed foods? What should I eat instead?
- Trump’s troubles worsen: 6 legal landmines facing the ex-president
- Daylight saving ends soon. Wait, didn't lawmakers vote to end this?
The environmental department’s spokesman Scott Dean said the agency plans to follow up on the airport’s letter this week.
Consultants for the airport have drilled five wells to monitor groundwater on its property, as well as taking 10 soil samples.
Testing results were delayed because the first lab couldn’t properly conduct the PFAS tests, so the airport had to send samples to a new lab, airport officials said.
Several residents that live near the airport hired private labs to test for contaminants in their wells. The testing didn’t find any PFAS above the state’s limit for drinking water, but many neighbors said the results show the need for widespread testing.
The highest chemicals were found at wells closest to the airport, but the tests don’t show if they were derived from the airport.
Exposure to PFAS has been linked in human studies to cancer, thyroid malfunction and other diseases.