Former Parchment Paper Mill Owners To Be Sought, Held Responsible For Contamination
Although it will come as no surprise to anyone in the Parchment and surrounding areas, the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality confirmed Thursday that extremely high levels of PFAS have been confirmed in a landfill that was formerly used by the paper mill that operated in Parchment for decades. According to MLive, a quote from MDEQ spokesperson Scott Dean reports that tests in one area of the capped landfill showed 11,500 parts per trillion of the compounds that make up PFAS. By comparison, the levels that triggered the Parchment Water Emergency in late July were over 1,400 parts per trillion and it is uncertain how long Parchment's water was poisoned as the mill has sat empty and decaying for almost nearly twenty years.
Dean also reportedly says the next step will be to try and identify any former owner who can be held responsible for the contamination. The former landfill is all but certainly responsible for the high contamination in nearby groundwater wells and in Parchment's municipal drinking water system which has now been connected to water from the city of Kalamazoo.
On July 26th, the Kalamazoo Department of Health and Community Services issued a notice advising customers of the Parchment water supply, serving residents of the City of Parchment and Cooper Township, to stop drinking their water due to the high levels of PFAS found in the municipal wells. After receiving bottled water for over a month, residents in the City of Parchment and parts of Cooper Township were finally able to use their tap water again as the 'Drinking Water Advisory' was lifted on August 27th. Some residential wells are still being tested and residents are being equipped with filters to keep PFAS out of their water.
MDEQ and state health officials will attend a Cooper Township board meeting on Monday, September 10th at 7:00pm.