HARTFORD TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WOOD) — Hartford-area residents expressed frustration Wednesday during a meeting to address PFAS contamination linked to an old metal plating business.
Environmental officials said last week that testing at the former Du-Wel Metal Products site on Heywood Street near 60th Avenue found extremely high levels of PFAS, prompting them to expand testing to residential wells nearby to see if the chemicals spread.
About 80 residents showed up to meet with state and local environmental and health officials Wednesday night to learn more about what the contamination means for their health. PFAS is a likely carcinogen also linked to other illnesses including ulcerative colitis and hypertension during pregnancy.
Some residents expressed frustration with the company that went out of business in the early 2000s, after which the building was torn down. They said Du-Wel shouldn’t have been allowed to leave contamination behind.
“They should’ve cleaned Du-Wel up right away,” resident Parris Rose told 24 Hour News 8 after the meeting.
“They file bankruptcy and who’s left to clean up?” resident Don Pierce added. “Property owners. And I’m a property owner.”
The Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy, a new state organization that includes what used to be the Department of Environmental Quality, said some wells at the Du-Wel site had levels of PFAS higher than 8,000 parts per trillion. The state advisory level for drinking water is 70 ppt.
EGLE is now testing about 50 residential wells in the area to see if and how far the chemical has spread. Results have not yet come back.
Hartford Township Supervisor Ron Sefcik said he was impressed with how quickly the state moved in once the PFAS results came back.
“It was all hands on deck. There wasn’t any hemming and hawing, stalling, anything like that,” Sefcik told 24 Hour News 8. “It’s, ‘Let’s get on with it. We’ve got a job to do.'”
If the contamination is determined to have spread to residential wells, it will represent a benchmark in the state’s PFAS response. EGLE spokesman Scott Dean said it would be the 50th site in the state.
With PFAS found in a slew of products, Sefcik says he’s confident Hartford won’t be the last township to deal with contamination.
“I’m sure there’s going to be other communities in the state that are going to cross the same bridge and be in a new era of ‘You got PFAS, this is where we go from here,'” Sefcik said.
Some residents asked about the old Du-Wel location in Bangor and whether that area would be tested. State officials said that area was not a priority because there are no residential wells nearby.