KI Sawyer water clear of contaminants

Published: Mar. 5, 2018 at 6:49 PM EST
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Feubrary 26, TV6 & FOX UP

from the Associated Press about possible chemical contamination in the K.I. Sawyer water system.

March 5, Sawyer officials clarified what's really happening, and whether people need to be concerned.

Right off the bat, Sawyer officials said the water system is clean, and residents should not worry.

In February, Michigan Senators Gary Peters and Debbie Stabenow were part of a group of lawmakers requesting a study of P.F.A.S. contamination (perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances) in several Michigan cities.

According to the E.P.A., the chemical is used in fire retardant foams, it is used a stain resistant coating and even used to keep food packaging from sticking to food.

"It is there in places, there were a few crashes out here where they had to spray foam on they also used to, they had a building out here, they would cover it with jet fuel, light it on fire and practice fire-fighting with the foam," Director of Sawyer Operations Steven Schenden said.

The chemical can build up over time in the body and can have an effect on the immune system, thyroid or liver, and can cause low infant birth weights, and cancer.

According to staff, the E.P.A. only wrote regulations to test for the chemical in January.

"It's a new emerging contaminate that they really did not have much information on beforehand but it's something the Air Force started looking for," Sawyer Water Department Supervisor Nicholas Hautamaki said.

Hautamaki said once the Air Force found traces of the chemical in the Sawyer area, they re-sampled their own systems, on top of their regular testing of the water.

According to Schenden, samples are collected at the wells on base, tested in off-site labs, and results came back clean.

"Even these results where we had a couple other ones where we tested they were so low the lab couldn't quantify them," Schenden said. "It's tested right there and if it's not there, then there's no way for it to get in at the house level, and this stuff is measured in parts per trillion."

Some residents were concerned the "let run" letter they received this winter was due to contamination, but according to Schenden, it is only to address the possibility of freezing pipes.

A copy of the press release from the K.I. Sawyer Water/Wastewater Department is available in the Related Documents section of this article.

For more information on the chemical, you can read the E.P.A.'s description at