Results from testing done in July have found dioxins in residential water wells in the Otsego area. The Allegan County Health Department in unison with the Kalamazoo County Health & Community Services Department received notification from the Michigan Department of Health & Human Services (MDHHS) and Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ) that preliminary test results were received for 16 residential wells in the Otsego area, 14 in Allegan County and 2 in Kalamazoo County, indicating some levels of dioxins are in the water wells. Those 16 homeowners are in the process of being contacted by their respective local health departments.

The testing happened after residents brought concerns about contamination and possible resulting health issues in the Otsego area to federal and state agencies earlier this year. As a result, 56 private wells were tested in July for chemicals in waste from local paper mills that were applied to fields and roads in the area.

Dioxins are a group of chemicals that may be formed during chemical and paper manufacturing. Two dioxins were found in the wells, 2,3,7,8-tetrachlorodibenzo-p-dioxin and 2,3,7,8- tetrachlorodibenzofuran. There will be additional testing for other dioxin-like chemicals.

Residents with questions can call the Allegan County Health Department’s Hotline - 269-686-4546 from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Residents can also contact the MDHHS Toxicologist at 1-800-648-6942 8 a.m. – 5p.m Monday through Friday for further information about dioxins.