PARCHMENT, Mich. (WOOD) — Gov. Rick Snyder visited Parchment Sunday afternoon to address the PFAS crisis that has forced thousands of residents to avoid drinking from their taps.
“We care,” Snyder said he wanted area residents to know, “and we’re here on the ground.”
He and U.S. Rep. Fred Upton, R-St. Joseph, toured a construction site on G Avenue where crews are building a new main to pipe in water from the Kalamazoo system. Kalamazoo city leaders are expected to vote Monday on an agreement to make that happen.
“I think there’s been a lot of progress. You can physically see it here. The temporary connection is working well. They’re currently flushing water with Kalamazoo water. But this is a permanent solution we’re looking at here,” Snyder said of the new water main. “…I got a report from all the various departments — from Parchment, from Kalamazoo, from the county — about the work going on and the good work that’s being done in a collaborative fashion to support the residents of Parchment.”
People in Parchment have been told how to flush the water in their homes and businesses. Instructions are also available online and questions can be directed to 269.337.8756.
The Michigan Department Of Environmental Quality says it will wait for the results of testing before telling residents their tap water is safe.
“The water in Kalamazoo is well, well under the 70 parts per trillion (PFAS) guideline,” said Scott Dean from the DEQ’s PFAS Action Response Team. “But once again, we need to flush for a while to make sure there isn’t any residual water from the previous system in Parchment.”
Parchment’s water system, which serves the city and neighboring Cooper Township, was recently found to have levels of PFAS, a likely carcinogen, up to 20 times higher than federal and state safety limits.
Since then, the city has been passing out bottled water. Distribution will be continue from noon to 8 p.m. Monday through Friday at Parchment High School. You’ll have to verify your address at pickup. You can also recycle empty water bottles at the high school.
The source of the contamination has not yet been confirmed, but officials are focusing in on the old Crown Vantage paper mill and its neighboring dump site, which are near the wells from which the municipal system draws water, as the possible culprit.
“We’re making good progress” in confirming the source, the DEQ’s Dean said. “We have been able to access a number of the monitoring wells around the old Crown Vantage property.”
Parchment residents told 24 Hour News 8 they are happy with the progress in reaching a solution.
Anyone with questions about the contamination can call the Parchment Water Hotline at 269.373.5346 to talk to someone from the Kalamazoo County Health & Community Services Department.
**Correction: A previous version of this article misidentified the old paper mill as Crown Victory. It is actually Crown Vantage. We regret the error, which has been corrected.