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Michigan EGLE Tests for PFAS Outside Gogebic-Iron County Airport

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Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy
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The Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy is testing residential wells in North Ironwood for harmful chemicals this week, after some were found at the Gogebic-Iron County airport.

Now, the state is trying to determine how far they’ve spread, and if they’ve contaminated any drinking water.

The Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy, or EGLE, tests groundwater at airports across Michigan.

They’re looking for residue of a firefighting foam that airports use to train with in case there’s an accident.

That foam contains PFAS, which can be dangerous to human health if they end up in drinking water.

In November, EGLE found evidence of PFAS at levels higher than quality standards at the Gogebic-Iron County airport.

“Because of testing at Gogebic airport, we want to make sure that there was no problem with either soil or groundwater at the airport,” Mike Jury, the EGLE site lead, said.

So it’s starting another round of water and soil testing to determine how far the chemicals have spread, and if they’ve contaminated residential drinking water.

Jury said groundwater from the airport flows to the north and northwest, and it’s possible the groundwater is carrying PFAS.

“We believe there’s a possibility that groundwater has left the airport property contaminated with PFAS, so we want to make sure those homes that are near the airport are sampled to protect the people from any type of problems from the groundwater they’re using to drink,” he said.

EGLE is testing about two dozen residential wells.

If this testing shows water is contaminated, the state will provide affected people with bottled water until it can install a water filtration system. 

The Michigan PFAS Action Response Team has information about PFAS and the results of EGLE’s first round of sampling at the airport.

A recording of a community meeting for the Gogebic-Iron County airport PFAS investigation has additional information.

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