Parchment water advisory lifted; PFAS within EPA limit

Toxic Tap Water

PARCHMENT, Mich. (WOOD) — Kalamazoo County health officials are lifting the drinking water advisory for residents who rely on Parchment’s water system.

The Kalamazoo County Health & Community Services Department announced most recent PFAS tests showed the city’s water supply system within the Environmental Protection Agency’s guidelines for drinking.

Gov. Rick Snyder joined state, county and local health officials Monday afternoon to talk about the process and what’s still ahead for the approximately 3,000 people on Parchment’s water system, which include some residents of Cooper Township.

>>App users: Watch Monday afternoon’s news conference here.

The update comes a month and a day after the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality, Kalamazoo County and Parchment officials announced state water tests showed levels of the likely carcinogen PFAS at 1,300 parts per trillion and 1,400 ppt — well above the EPA’s threshold of 70 ppt.

On Monday, it was announced that the levels are around 7 ppt.

DEQ’s director of the drinking water for the area, Eric Oswald, said that after repeated flushing and tests, the water is meeting all safety standards.

“I am extremely confident that the water meets the standards of the Safe Drinking Water Act,” he said.

“We ought to have the best drinking water in the world,” he said of Michigan, “and we are striving every day to get there and this is part of it. Other states aren’t looking for this.”

>>Inside Target 8’s Toxic Tap water investigation

Parchment residents that 24 Hour News 8 spoke to said they feel the water is safe, but remained hesitant to move away from bottled water.

“I want to believe that they did the right thing by the community,” said Misty Cook, who works at Geno’s Golden Pizza and Pub.

Businesses like Geno’s said they’re ready to move forward.

“We had to do everything with bottled water from Culligan, so we were bringing in all the water from there to do the water and the sauce,” Cook said. 

“We still are,” a coworker chimed in.

“So they just lifted it today, so that’s great. Back to business,” Cook added.

Weeks ago, commissioners from both cities OK’d a one-year plan for Parchment to source its water from Kalamazoo’s system, though the hookup may ultimately stand as the long-term solution.

The municipal water will continue to be monitored. Meanwhile, volunteers with the Plumbers and Pipefitters Local 357 started installing free kitchen sink filters Monday for nearly 200 homes with private wells in Cooper Township.

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