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Water Quality Around Former Oscoda Air Force Base of “Great Concern”, Congressman Dan Kildee Says

April 6, 2016
Press Release

Kildee Calls for State of Michigan, Air Force to Provide Water until Additional Testing, Safety of Water is Known

Congressman Dan Kildee (MI-05) today reiterated his “great concern” over the safety of drinking water in Oscoda after recent positive test results for perfluorinated chemicals (PFCs), a contaminant that may pose a significant health risk to humans, in the groundwater near Wurtsmith Air Force Base.

Visiting Oscoda today to meet with local officials, Congressman Kildee called on both the state of Michigan and the Air Force, to provide clean drinking water for residents until the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency releases new provisional health advisory (PHA) levels, additional testing is completed and the water is deemed safe. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), PFCs pose a potential risk for kidney and liver damage. There is also potential concern for other health problems, including low birth weight, delayed puberty onset, elevated cholesterol levels, and reduced immunologic responses to vaccination.

In February, the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) and the local health department issued a joint health advisory stating that homeowners should “seek an alternate water supply for drinking and the preparation of food.” Despite this health advisory, however, neither the state of Michigan nor the Air Force is currently providing alternate drinking water to Oscoda residents. Ongoing water testing is not scheduled to be completed until June 2016.

“Based on the lack of completed testing, the unknown impacts of PFCs on human health, and potential long-term impacts of these chemicals, I am not assured that families in Oscoda have access to safe drinking water. Thus, I request that the state of Michigan and the Air Force immediately provide affected Oscoda residents with clean water until more complete testing is done and the water quality is deemed safe,” Congressman Kildee’s letter to the state and Air Force reads. “My constituents deserve access to safe drinking water and should not worry that their water supply is potentially harming them,” the letter concludes.

Last month, Congressman Kildee also wrote to the Air Force expressing his concern and raising questions about water quality in the community after recent testing levels around the former base showed positive PFC levels. Congressman Kildee’s office was also present in Oscoda at a community meeting regarding recent testing held on March 23, 2016. Today in Oscoda, Congressman Kildee met with local and state officials about the ongoing situation, including the District 2 Health Department, MDHHS, the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality, and local Oscoda township officials.