KALAMAZOO, Mich. - The Environmental Protection Agency visited Michigan to discuss PFAS in the state's water supply.
There are at least 44 communities affected statewide, including the City of Parchment, where the levels were more than 20 times higher than what is considered safe by the EPA.
The EPA hosted a PFAS roundtable at the Kalamazoo Expo Center Friday, Oct. 5, with state and local stakeholders.
But the effort to address drinking-water contamination is being met with mixed reactions.
This stop in Michigan comes after the EPA visited communities in a handful of other states impacted by PFAS.
The other states are New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, Colorado, North Carolina and Kansas.
The goal of the meetings is to hear how to "best" help states and communities facing PFAS issues.
People at the roundtable addressed steps being taken at the local, state and federal level, as well as further questions and concerns centering around three main areas.
Those key topics were identification, communication and solutions to PFAS.
The meeting included representatives from communities and groups around the state, the Michigan Congressional Delegation, the Michigan PFAS Action Response Team, the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality and the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services.
The EPA said it's using this information in conjunction with the National Leadership Summit to develop a PFAS Management Plan, which it will release later this year. But some say these meetings aren't enough.
"We are very concerned, and really outraged, that the hearing was put together with such short notice to the public," said Cyndi Roper, the Michigan Senior Policy Advocate with the Natural Resources Defense Council. "There are very few opportunities for the public's voices to be heard, and this is a critical issue here in Michigan."
The EPA Office of Ground Water and Drinking Water director, Peter Grevatt, addressed this concern.
"We're balancing the desire to be with multiple communities across the country with the need to move forward on this management plan," Grevatt said. "One of the things I mentioned is we've had a public docket open for several months, we have received almost 120,000 comments from the public through that docket. And so taking all this information in is critical for us to move forward to help communities address these challenges."
The EPA said it's working to evaluate the need for a maximum contaminant level for PFOS and propose designating PFOS as a hazardous substance.
The agency said it is also developing groundwater cleanup recommendations and toxicity values for other chemicals.
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