UM scientists use ancient fish brain to unlock secrets of fossils, evolution

Oscoda gets $1M in federal grants for clean drinking water

Melissa Nann Burke
The Detroit News
Equipment used to test for PFAS (per- and polyfluoroalkyl chemicals) in drinking water at Trident Laboratories in Holland, pictured on Monday, June 18, 2018. Trident Labs added testing for perfluorinated chemicals, known as PFAS, in March after toxic contamination was identified at a former tannery near Rockford.

Oscoda Township will receive $1 million in two grants from the U.S. Department of Agriculture to help homes that are using well water threatened by PFAS contamination to connect to the municipal drinking water system. 

Rep. Dan Kildee, D-Flint Township, announced the grants Monday, saying they'll aid in cleaning up contamination near the former Wurtsmith Air Force Base by a potentially harmful class of fluorinated chemicals known as PFAS. 

Oscoda will receive $750,000 in Water and Waste Disposal Loans and Grants and $250,000 in Emergency Community Water Assistance Grants. 

"Families in Oscoda have waited too long for resources from the Air Force to protect their families from harmful chemicals," Kildee said in a statement.

"While I fought in Congress to get these funds for Oscoda to ensure drinking water for residents, the Air Force must do more to clean up the contamination that they caused."

Two state agencies last Friday warned hunters against eating deer taken in certain areas in Oscoda Township after toxic chemical contaminants were found in one deer.

The “do-not-eat” advisory for deer taken within five miles of Clark’s Marsh was issued by the Michigan departments of Natural Resources and Health and Humans Services, after one of 20 deer tested at 547 parts per billion for PFOS, a type of PFAS, or per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, chemical.

The test is almost double the action level of 300 ppb used when the state considers do-not-eat advisories for fish. A do-not-eat fish advisory also remains in place for the area around Clark’s Marsh.

The five-mile radius encircles the former Wurtsmith Air Force Base property and covers what the DNR has estimated to be the expected travel range of deer living in or near the marsh.

Consumption of PFAS-containing substance can increase risks for cancer, thyroid illnesses, infertility and increased cholesterol, but those effects are believed to result from sustained exposure to high levels, said Angela Minicucci, a spokeswoman for the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services.

Kildee had introduced an amendment that passed Congress to double the size of USDA Rural Development’s Emergency Community Water Assistance Grants for communities with drinking water contamination.

Kildee urged the Pentagon and environmental regulators to address PFAS contamination more urgently.