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MPART enters second phase of PFAS investigation for U.P. airport

PFAS testing at airports.
PFAS testing at airports.(WLUC)
Published: Apr. 6, 2021 at 11:01 PM EDT
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GOGEBIC COUNTY, Mich. (WLUC) - The Michigan PFAS Action Response Team (MPART) continues the investigation for PFAS found at Gogebic-Iron County Airport.

The Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (EGLE) will now sample the drinking water of residential areas surrounding the airport for phase two of the investigation.

The areas of sampling include along Airport Road, Black River Road, Skyway Road and Beagle Club Road.

“They came up with about 24 homes and businesses,” Mike Jury EGLE PFAS specialist said. “We would like to sample the airport terminal well that supplies water to passengers.”

AECOM is a consultant for the state of Michigan and conduct all residential well sampling. They will have badges and will contact the residents by phone to set up the time and dates that they can do the sampling.

In November 2020, during phase one, a significant amount of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) contamination was found on the airport property from fire-fighting foam.

“Our records found one primary site so that was the focus of our efforts in doing the sampling,” Mead & Hunt airport planner Zachary Puchacz said.

The results at the airport showed the perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) levels at 6.9 ppt when it should not be more than 8 ppt and PFOS levels at 12.3 ppt.

The Michigan Department of Health and Human services said health effects of PFAS can cause reduced fertility, thyroid disease, liver damage and cancer.

Even so, the chemical is not harmful to skin.

“People can keep using the water to wash their dishes, to showering or to bath,” MDHHS toxicologist Rosa Jaiman said.

In order for the health department to make a public health response determination there are three factors to consider:

  • MDDHS comparison values,
  • residential well-result
  • site-specific information

EGLE said if you live in close vicinity to the airport and have not received a letter about sampling or suspect PFAS contamination in your drinking water to contact Mike Jury at 517-242-9578.

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