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Bottled water handed out in Blair after PFAs contamination found

State of Michigan

People in Blair Township are now dealing with PFAs contamination. On Friday, twelve households started getting bottled water at the township hall. That’s after contamination was found in wells this week. 

PFAs are found in things like fire-fighting foam and are linked to cancer.

Dan Thorell, the environmental health director for Grand Traverse County, says the pollution is likely linked to the Carl's Retreading fire that happened 22 years ago. 

“I always just ... try to put myself in those folks shoes," says Thorell, "and if it was my well, and I had been drinking the water, sure would I be concerned? Absolutely. But all we can do is go by the information we have now.”

Thorell says a lot is still unknown about PFAs, but the level of PFAs detected in Blair Township is not considered a health threat by the EPA.  

Regardless, he says, they are addressing it.
"We made the decision with the Department of Health and Human Services basically that any wells that had any [PFAs] detection in them at all, we were going to provide some interim water, which right now is bottled water," says Thorell.
He says they plan to install filters in the contaminated wells in the next month or so.

Morgan Springer is a contributing editor and producer at Interlochen Public Radio. She previously worked for the New England News Collaborative as the host/producer of NEXT, the weekly show which aired on six public radio station in the region.