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Parchment PFAS Town Hall Draws Big Crowd

Greyson Steele

There was a full house at Haven Reformed Church Tuesday night as state and local officials held a town hall meeting on PFAS contamination in Parchment. Last Thursday, PFAS levels in the city’s water system were found to be more than 20 times above the 70 parts-per-trillion threshhold set by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. The group of chemicals has been linked to some kinds of cancer and other diseases.

Mark Ducharme at the State Department of Environmental Quality told Parchment residents that state and local officials are doing everything they can to make the city’s water safe.

“We hope that everyone takes away from this the emphasis that we’ve placed upon understanding where PFAS are affecting water systems in the State of Michigan. We hope that people take away from this a more thorough understanding of PFAS and the actions that we are putting in place in this community to ensure the safety of the residents.”

Ducharme says the DEQ is also trying to find out where the PFAS contamination may have come from.

“We identified the paper mill. The paper mill is an area where we have information that some paper industries used PFAS as a part of their process. We don’t know if this one did or not, but because of what we know about PFAS use we said we want to sample there.”

Test results from residential wells in Parchment are expected within the next week. But Ducharme says the results of samples from wells near the paper mill will take longer. Bottled water is available for residents of Parchment and part of Cooper Township every day this week from noon to 8 p.m.  at Parchment High School. Weekend distribution hours have not been announced.

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