Military, EGLE, health department to conduct more PFAS testing

Army National Guard to resume testing in May, round three of MDHHS testing slated for summer of 2022
Officials from the Army National Guard, the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, and the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy – during a meeting of the Camp Grayling Restoration Advisory Board on Wednesday, April 20 – offered a few updates with regard to the ongoing PFAS investigation for Crawford County and said more testing will be done this spring and summer.
The meeting was conducted at the Grayling Charter Township hall with an online option to join via Zoom.
Christiaan Bon, Geologist/Site Lead, Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy, Gaylord Office, said upcoming EGLE testing will include “Lake Margrethe pore and surface water sampling” in May of 2022, Grayling Army Airfield monitoring well sampling in July of 2022, and “semi annual Borchers Way monitoring wells” sampling in July of 2022. Bon said Lake Margrethe sampling during the week of May 9 will be done by boat.
Sesha Kallakuri, Michigan Department of Health and Human Services Toxicologist, said MDHHS recently sent out letters to residents near the Grayling Army Airfield regarding the department’s second round of testing, and a third round of samples will be collected this summer.
“For round two, Grayling Army Airfield sampling that happened last summer, we sent out letters the last week of March for 296 addresses,” Kallakuri said. “The Lake Margrethe letters went out last year some time in December, so that should complete all the mailings for round two of our sampling that happened last summer.”
Kallakuri said of the approximately 300 homes tested in the Grayling Army Airfield area 232 “were non detects” and 63 “were below our comparison values.”
Kallakuri said the round two letters did not contain recommendations for water use unless there was a change in conditions, but the round three letters will offer them. Kallakuri said residents who did not have changes should continue to use their water as previously recommended.
“We are going to be beginning round three in all three Grayling areas, which is planned for June, July, August months. I don’t have a confirmed start date yet but it should be summer this year for round three, and which we hope would be the final round, but depending on the kind of data that we are going to see will (determine) if round four is necessary,” Kallakuri said.
“For round two I know there’s a lot of confusion. It doesn’t really spell out what the recommendation is. For round three when we send the results letters we will have the actual recommendation in there,” Kallakuri said. “So there are two options, right? We would say your well water is okay for consumption, you can continue using it, and the second option is saying that we are recommending that you be on some sort of alternate water, and you can get that for no cost from local health department, and those are certified point of use systems. We will make that clear in the next set of letters that we are going to be sending out.”
The Army National Guard plans to gather more water samples from homes near the Grayling Army Airfield on May 9-17, said Dr. Bonnie Packer, Army National Guard Cleanup and Restoration Branch. Dr. Packer said the ongoing effort of testing residences near the Grayling Army Airfield includes more than 300 homes. Dr. Packer said 127 were sampled last November and 70 more have completed the right of entry forms. Those 70 are scheduled for testing during the May 9-17 effort.
Dr. Packer said that leaves approximately 100 homes that the Army National Guard hopes to still include in the process by securing right of entry paperwork from the owners.
During previous local PFAS meetings, Dr. Packer has said that sampling is necessary for homeowners who want to be included in the military’s “remedy” for the PFAS issue.
“The army guard is doing its own sampling. I know this gets very confusing for the community. The reason the guard needs to take its own sample is because the actual remedy for the community is an army guard remedy. In order to take that action, either with bottled water or whole house filter or the final remedy, those houses that want to be involved in that have to have their houses sampled by the army guard,” Dr. Packer said during a previous meeting. “Even if you’ve already been sampled two or three times by the state it’s very important if you’ve got a right of entry from us that you sign it and send it back.”
Dr. Packer said the testing process is simple – workers enter the property, take samples from an outdoor faucet, and there is no digging involved. 
During a meeting in September of 2021, Dr. Packer said the overall process of dealing with the PFAS issue involves several steps: “Preliminary Assessment, Site Inspection, Remedial Investigation, Feasibility Study, Proposed Plan, Decision Document, Remedial Design, and Remedial Action.”
“We’re not quite at the Feasibility Study yet,” Dr. Packer said during last week’s Restoration Advisory Board meeting.
Dr. Packer said testing at Camp Grayling north/south post ranges – including Range 40, Lewiston Grade Road, Range 8, Range 15, Howes Lake, Former Northern FOB, small arms ranges, and light demolition ranges – revealed some PFAS “detections” in soil and groundwater at some of the sites “but no exceedances.” Some of the areas had “no detections” in soil or groundwater. “Future Action” for the ranges has been listed as “No Further Action,” according to Dr. Packer’s presentation.
“We really found almost nothing,” Dr. Packer said.
Wednesday’s Camp Grayling Restoration Advisory Board meeting included a presentation from members of the Great Lakes PFAS Action Network.
The PFAS Action Network wants to “protect impacted communities, prevent future contamination, (have) additional testing and monitoring, hold PFAS polluters accountable for clean up costs, (and) find solutions to clean up PFAS,” according to the presentation.
More information on the Great Lakes PFAS Action Network is available on its website at www.glpan.org.
The Michigan Army National Guard will conduct “a town hall meeting to update Grayling residents on (the) PFAS investigation” on Tuesday, May 10, from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. at Kirtland Community College’s Grayling campus in Community Room A, according to the Camp Grayling Restoration Advisory Board.
According to multiple reports, local military facilities such as the Grayling Army Airfield and Camp Grayling have PFAS water contamination, and documents prepared for the Army National Guard and the US Army Corps of Engineers suggest that local PFAS contamination at the two sites came from “aqueous film forming foam released during firefighting activities or training, although other PFAS sources are possible.”
PFAS (perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances) “are a large group of manmade chemicals” that “do not break down in the environment,” according to the Michigan PFAS Action Response Team, and they can cause a variety of “associated human health outcomes,” including “certain types of cancer,” according to the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services.

Crawford County Avalanche

Mailing Address
Box 490
Grayling, MI 49738

Phone: 989-348-6811
FAX: 989-348-6806
E-Mail: information@crawfordcountyavalanche.com

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