Kalamazoo working to pipe water to Parchment

Toxic Tap Water

PARCHMENT, Mich. (WOOD) — Work continued Wednesday to get clean water flowing into Parchment.  

It has been several days since officials announced high levels of PFAS, a likely carcinogen, had been detected in the city’s municipal water system, which serves Parchment and Cooper Township.

“This is downtown Parchment,” barbershop owner Lamarr Blanchard said. “It’s a big concern.”

Blanchard has a few questions.

“The first question I would have is, ‘How long has this been (in the water)?’” he asked.

That question and others like it persists as crews work to bring Kalamazoo city water to Parchment. A new water main is going in on G Avenue in Parchment, with the work prompting a precautionary boil water advisory for 17 nearby homes through Saturday.

The goal is for Kalamazoo water to flow into Parchment’s lines, providing water free of PFAS. It’s not yet clear when that will happen.

The city of Kalamazoo says anyone on Parchment’s water system needs to flush all water taps and any appliances that use water.

Bottled water distribution continues at Parchment High School, where 1,596 cases of bottled water from the state showed up Wednesday. Distribution will run from noon to 8 p.m. through Friday and from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday and from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday. You’ll have to verify your address at pickup.

“We just really want to share the love to Kalamazoo,” said Jax Heil, who was helping give out bottled water Wednesday afternoon.

Heil grew up in Parchment, drinking the contaminated water for who knows how long.

“As of right now, I don’t have any concerns,” he told 24 Hour News 8. “But the whole lifetime thing is kind of what gets me.”

People and organizations who want to volunteer at water distribution can call Parchment clerk Shannon Stutz at 269.492.3262.

The state is also testing private wells in the area to make sure they are safe. Keith Hewitt, who has a private well, picked up free water Wednesday. He said he and his wife go through six gallons of bottled water a week.

“My wife and I have not … drank our water in two years simply because of the fact that we smelled and tasted something in it,” Hewitt said.

The Michigan Department of Quality says anyone with a private well that has not yet been tested should contact it at 1.800.662.9278.

Back at the barbershop, Blanchard is trying to continue with business as usual, but he is afraid of losing some customers.

“People don’t want to come because I have a lot of clients that I wash their hair. And so they don’t want to be exposed to this water out here. And they don’t really know what’s going on with it,” Blanchard said.

People 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.



Michigan PFAS Action Response Team

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