A group concerned about the water contamination in Plainfield Township met on Saturday, Jan. 20 to plan a recall of two township board members.
"We believe that they're not being fair, that they're not representing the Plainfield Township residents," said Cody Angell, a local activist who created the Facebook group, Demand Action From Plainfield Township.
Angell created another Facebook group to start the recall process of Plainfield Township Supervisor Robert Homan and Trustee Susan Morrow.
"Those two members have known about this [contamination] for a very long time and basically done nothing about the situation," Angell said. "That's why we feel that it's best that we put in new members on the board."
In 2013, the Plainfield municipal water tested just below the 70 parts per trillion (ppt) EPA lifetime drinking water advisory for PFAS, toxic chemicals present in sludge dumped years ago by Wolverine Worldwide at northern Kent County sites. Last month, the township wells tested at 6.8 ppt--below the advisory.
Despite Angell's claims, Homan told WZZM 13 that dealing with the PFAS chemicals is "new territory" for the entire board. He said the board constantly attempts to address questions and deal with the "unwelcome contaminants." Both Homan and Morrow declined to comment on the recall efforts.
Angell also claims the township board has not done enough to eradicate other "unregulated contaminants in the municipal water.
The township tests for 100 contaminants required by the Safe Drinking Act regularly. Every five years, it tests for unregulated contaminants under the EPA Unregulated Contaminant Monitoring Rule (UCMR). According to a report from the Environmental Working Group, Plainfield Township municipal wells detected three contaminants, 1,4-Dioxane, hexavalent chromium and PFOS, at unsafe levels in 2015.
Switching from municipal water is not helpful if the township water is contaminated, said Jennifer Carney. The well at her home in Belmont tested at 147.9 ppt. Plainfield Township said it would extend municipal water lines to contaminated homes.
"I feel like I have one hand in both pots," Carney said. "I'm in the well, my future is in the municipal. And these people are paying for this toxic water."
Plainfield Township recently approved a $400,000 municipal carbon PFAS filter. The township attorney said the filter will be installed in the coming weeks.
"We are going to be going door-to-door collecting signatures," Angell said. "We're going to collect as many as we possibly can just so we can show that residents don't stand behind the board."
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