More PFAS testing to happen this year

Camp Grayling RAB meeting also includes talk of extending municipal water systems to residents affected by contamination
Officials provided PFAS investigation updates during a meeting of the Camp Grayling Restoration Advisory Board at Grayling Township Hall (and online via Zoom) on Tuesday, May 16, including discussion of possible expansion of existing municipal water systems to provide safe water for residents.
Lisa Kruse from the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (Gaylord office) said Range 40 is an “area of interest” and EGLE is working on a testing effort for homes on the east side of Guthrie Lake and north of Jones Lake. 
“We felt more investigation needs to be taken,” Kruse said.
Kruse called the endeavor a gathering of “voluntary precautionary residential samples.”
A representative from the Michigan Department of Natural Resources – later in the meeting – said the DNR sampled the wells at the Jones Lake State Forest Campground and shut down one of the wells due to PFAS detection.
According to the Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy, “finalized reports summarizing EGLE’s work from 2019 through 2022 have been uploaded to the RAB website.” The “Camp Grayling Restoration Advisory Board (RAB): Home” page is available through Kirtland Community College.
Sesha Kallakuri, Michigan Department of Health and Human Services Toxicologist, said the department is still conducting outreach for the Grayling Army Airfield, Lake Margrethe, and MATES areas, and – after conducting three rounds of testing since 2020 – is looking at a fourth round of testing this year.
“We want to check for fluctuations in drinking water wells. Are they staying consistent over time or are they showing an increase in trend or a decrease in trend, and that way we can come to a point where we can make a final public health determination,” Kallakuri said.
Kallakuri said so far the testing data has been “consistent.”
Dr. Bonnie Packer, Army National Guard Cleanup and Restoration Branch Acting PFAS Program Manager, discussed the current CERCLA (Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act) PFAS investigation process, project funding, proposed new EPA contaminant standards for PFAS, and concerns from residents and officials that more “interim action” needs to be taken as the investigation proceeds.
According to Dr. Packer’s presentation, “each of the Grayling (Remedial Investigation) areas has been approved for Defense Restoration Account (March 2023) for the next phase of CERCLA,” and “over $8 million” has been “spent to date” throughout the CERCLA process.
Dr. Packer said the military plans to take more water samples this summer and fall.
“I need to know more about where impacts are so I know what solutions are safe and feasible,” Dr. Packer said.
Dr. Packer said meetings have been held with Grayling Charter Township and the City of Grayling about the potential of extending their existing municipal water systems to affected residents.
Dr. Packer said for the Department of Defense to extend a waterline it must be an existing system used by a community, the system “must be safe,” and a public comment process has to show that “people want it.” Dr. Packer said after the Department of Defense rebuild, the maintenance and operation of the system would be up to the “owners and operators and community.” Dr. Packer said the Grayling Township/Beaver Creek Township Four Mile Road water system currently serves industrial, but the addition of dormitories at Kirtland Community College would allow the system to meet the requirement of serving “residential.”
(A Grayling Charter Township official – during a regular meeting of the township board on Wednesday, May 17 – said the Kirtland student housing is expected to be finished in June or July in time for the upcoming fall semester. Also, according to Grayling Charter Township officials, the proposed water system extension would not include sewer service.)
Dr. Packer said the National Guard is still taking samples for those homeowners who have returned their right of entry forms and will test those who submit forms if they decide to do so. Dr. Packer – during Tuesday’s meeting and previous RAB meetings – said homes must be tested by the National Guard in order to be included in the military’s “remedy.”
“Perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) are a group of man-made chemicals that includes PFOA, PFOS, GenX, and many other chemicals. PFAS have been manufactured and used in a variety of industries around the globe, including in the United States since the 1940s. PFOA and PFOS have been the most extensively produced and studied of these chemicals. Both chemicals are very persistent in the environment and in the human body – meaning they don’t break down and they can accumulate over time. There is evidence that exposure to PFAS can lead to adverse human health effects,” according to District Health Department #10. “The most-studied PFAS chemicals are PFOA and PFOS. Studies indicate that PFOA and PFOS can cause reproductive and developmental, liver and kidney, and immunological effects in laboratory animals. Both chemicals have caused tumors in animals. The most consistent findings are increased cholesterol levels among exposed populations, with more limited findings related to: low infant birth weights, effects on the immune system, cancer (for PFOA), and thyroid hormone disruption (for PFOS).”

Crawford County Avalanche

Mailing Address
Box 490
Grayling, MI 49738

Phone: 989-348-6811
FAX: 989-348-6806

Comment Here