Months after contaminants were found in its water supply, Georgia-Pacific is helping state officials to help identify the sources of the leaching chemicals in Parchment, state officials said Monday.

State officials said they are "working closely" with the company to find the source of perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances, known as PFAS, that leeched into Parchment's water supply and private drinking wells in Cooper Township, both outside of Kalamazoo, in July.

Residents were ordered to stop drinking the city water, and bottled water supplies were provided.

Georgia-Pacific is offering to help even though it has never owned or operated the paper mill that is suspected of having contributed to the chemical contamination of the water supply, state officials said. The company does have a corporate relationship with the former owner. 

“Recently after learning of the contamination, GP contacted us to propose committing resources to the project,” said David Harn, the DEQ's project manager overseeing the state responses to Parchment's contamination. “The MDEQ has been preparing plans to undertake a field investigation while also researching potential source operations and responsible parties when GP made contact.”

Last summer, some city wells and private ones were discovered to contain high amounts of PFAS. State officials tested all public water supplies.

Georgia-Pacific has agreed to work with the state to identify monitoring well locations and depths, install monitoring wells, measure water levels in the monitoring wells, collect and analyze groundwater samples.

All costs will be borne by Georgia-Pacific under the supervision of the DEQ.

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