Potentially harmful chemicals found in groundwater

Some Grayling residents could be at risk of exposure to potentially harmful chemicals in their drinking water.

CRAWFORD COUNTY (WPBN/WGTU) -- Some Grayling residents could be at risk of exposure to potentially harmful chemicals in their drinking water.

Recently, some groundwater tests were done at the Grayling Army Airfield. The results showed a higher level of the PFC chemicals in the airfield's monitoring wells.

So an informational meeting was held for nearby residents at Grayling Middle School.

Jon Edgerly, the Environmental Program Manager with the Military and Veterans Affairs said every five years the United States Environmental Protection Agency puts out a list of chemicals that may be a problem.

"As part of that list that they published in 2012 there were PFCs, two different PFCs, that were on that list to look at," said Edgerly.

PFC's are chemicals that can be found in common household items like carpet stain remover, some camping gear and even certain food wrappers.

"The PFCs are chemicals that are used for a tremendous amount of things across the landscape," said Edgerly.

So the next step will be to test all of the wells at the airfield so they can determine exactly how bad the contamination is and to see if any of the surrounding areas are affected too.

"We don't know if this has gotten into your drinking water wells," said Christina Bush, a Toxicologist for the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services.

Bush said PFC's are only harmful to people if they're consumed.

"So you can bathe, you can do dishes, you can wash the laundry in this," said Bush. "that is not going to be a concern," said Bush.

But some residents were concerned about the impact this might have on the housing market.

"Because if I have kids and I'm looking for a house to buy I'm not buying in there," said one resident.

The officials on the panel pointed out that the contamination could be high in the airfield because they do fire training there and chemicals like PFC's are found in the foam they use.

The city of Grayling will also be providing drinking water at city hall for residents who want it from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m.

This upcoming week residents of the area will also be able to schedule an appointment to have their wells tested for PFC's.

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