GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — The U.S. House of Representatives have passed the Water Resources Development Act of 2022, including millions of dollars in funding to protect West Michigan communities from pollution.
The bill, which advanced out of committee in May and was approved by the House last week, would provide $7.2 million to help cover the Cascade Township Watermain Project.
The project, which has been in the works for several years now, would help hundreds of homeowners near the Gerald R. Ford International Airport connect to a public water source.
PFAS — or per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances — is a giant group of chemical compounds. PFAS was first developed in the 1940s and incorporated into all sorts of products in the years that followed, including non-stick pans, nail polish, eye makeup and dental floss.
Target 8 reported in April 2018 that several wells near the airport tested positive for excessive levels of PFAS, likely tied to a special firefighting foam used at airports and on military grounds.
The Cascade Township Watermain Project is expected to wrap up by 2023 and cost approximately $13 million. In addition to the $7.2 million that could come from the WRDA, the state government announced last year it would reserve $5 million to chip in for the project.
U.S. Rep. Peter Meijer, R-Grand Rapids, is a member of the bipartisan PFAS Task Force and voted to pass the WRDA last week. He called it “critical, much-needed funding.”
“Exposure to harmful PFAS contaminants is one of the most pressing environmental and public health issues facing our nation, and I am grateful to the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee for recognizing how important this funding will be for households in Cascade Township and their ability to access clean drinking water,” Meijer said in a statement.
The Water Resources Development Act will now move on to the Senate before it can be signed into law by President Joe Biden.