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Public urged to attend meeting at CRTC on contaminated groundwater

Submitted by Phil Heimerl on October 13, 2017 – 12:56 amNo Comment

A public meeting is being held at the Alpena Combat Readiness Training Center (CRTC) next week, to talk about contaminated groundwater at the base.

Preliminary results show high levels of both Perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) and perfluorooctyl sulfonate (PFOS), both of which may result in adverse health effects for fetuses and breastfed infants, and have been tied to liver, immune, thyroid and other health problems, including cancer.

Captain Brian Blumline told the county’s airport committee Thursday, that five monitoring wells were put in this spring and the preliminary results show “very high” levels of the contaminants.  “Initially we didn’t think the base would be bad at all,” said Blumline, “but now we find out we are bad.”

The contaminants are from Aqueous Film Forming Foam (AFFF) (fire-fighting foam) that was used in fire training at the base for decades.  The CRTC stopped using it in March.

At this time it is not known if the contamination extends beyond the boundaries of the base or if it’s reached residential water wells.

Blumline says the U.S. Air Force is testing for the contaminants at bases across the nation.  He said any base that housed firefighting equipment in the past will likely see similar test results.

At the same time, Blumline said there is no need for the community to panic and the Air National Guard, the Air Force, the Governor’s office and others are committed to making sure the problem is rectified.

Blumline is urging the public to attend an informational meeting at the CRTC on Wednesday at 5:30 p.m.  He said the gate to the base will be open and residents will be able to enter without any issues.  “We’re not going to be able to fight this without community support,” Blumline added.

The same contaminants have been detected at Camp Grayling and the former Wurtsmith Air Force Base in Oscoda.

The CRTC is expected to receive a more definitive set of test results in January.

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