HARTFORD TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WOOD) — State officials will test a few dozen private wells in the Hartford area for PFAS after the likely carcinogen was found at the site of an old plant.
Local officials learned in a Wednesday conference call with the state that their area is among an estimated 192 sites in Michigan with PFAS contamination.
“It surprised me there was PFAS there and it also surprised me at some of the levels that were found at the Du-Wel site itself,” Hartford Township Supervisor Ron Sefcik said.
Tests at the Du-Wel Metal Products on Heywood Street, which closed more than 20 years ago, found PFAS levels as high as nearly 8,700 parts per trillion. That’s about 125 times the advisory limit for drinking water of 70 ppt.
It is believed the plume is migrating northwest along an underground riverbed. The Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (the new name for the state environmental agency) is testing 50 properties north of 60th Avenue along 65th Street past Red Arrow Highway.
EGLE contractor Global Remediation Technologies, Inc. will be knocking on doors of affected homeowners by Saturday to get testing started. Expedited results should be back by the week of May 20. What those results show will determine whether any additional testing is needed.
“Michigan is the only state in the country that actually tests for PFAS right now,” said state Rep. Beth Griffin, R-Mattawan, whose district includes Hartford.
Being in the state that’s arguably at ground zero for PFAS means that there is a well-oiled response when new sites are discovered.
“Everybody got on board right away. The cooperation has just been fantastic,” Sefcik said.
Griffin said the threat of PFAS statewide has resulted in bipartisan actions at all levels of state government.
“We have been allocating at the state level millions of dollars to help wrap our arms around cleanup and identification and testing,” Griffin said.
PFAS has been linked to certain cancers and other illnesses, including ulcerative colitis and hypertension during pregnancy. So while test results are pending, authorities are handing out bottled water to affected residents at the Hartford Fire Department on E. Main Street. Water will be available from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday and 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday.
There is also a town hall meeting scheduled for 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. May 15 at the Hartford Federated Church on Red Arrow Highway. Questions can be directed to the township at 269.621.4658 or the state Environmental Assistance Center at 1.800.662.9278.
Hartford municipal water and wells for all Van Buren County schools have been tested and are PFAS-free, officials say.
**Correction: A previous version of this article included images incorrectly labeled as the site of the former Du-Wel plant. Those images have been removed.