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Pollution study at former Michigan Air Force base needs more time, Pentagon official says

OSCODA, Mich. — A Pentagon official has told northern Michigan residents four more years of study are necessary to get a handle on toxic chemicals from a former U.S. Air Force base that are polluting drinking water.

Michigan Radio and report Air Force Assistant Secretary John Henderson spoke Wednesday in Oscoda. Henderson says officials want to move faster on cleanup but must “get it right the first time.”

Ffirefighters extinguish a simulated No. 3 engine fire during capability demonstration of the P-34 Rapid Intervention Vehicle at Holloman Air Force Base, N.M., Sept. 21, 2014. (Airman 1st Class Aaron Montoya/Air Force)
New Mexico sues US Air Force over groundwater contamination

New Mexico on Tuesday sued the U.S. Air Force over groundwater contamination at two bases, saying the federal government has a responsibility to clean up plumes of toxic chemicals left behind by past military firefighting activities.

The meeting provided updates about dealing with the per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, known as PFAS.

The toxins are used in various stain- and stick-resistant household products. They’re also a component of firefighting foam used at the former Wurtsmith Air Force Base in Oscoda and other military installations.

State officials and residents are pushing the Air Force to accelerate testing and treatment of polluted groundwater.

Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Environment Maureen Sullivan at a House Oversight and Reform subcommittee hearing on PFAS chemicals and their risks on Wednesday, March 6, 2019, on Capitol Hill in Washington. The Pentagon defends its handling and continued use of a toxic firefighting foam that it acknowledges has contaminated water around more than 400 military bases, as military families and officials from states testify on the health and financial tolls. (Sait Serkan Gurbuz/AP)
$2 billion cost to clean up water contamination at military bases, defense official says

Cleaning up and protecting U.S. drinking water from a class of toxic chemicals used in many household items could cost in the tens of billions of dollars nationally, including $2 billion for the Department of Defense alone, witnesses testified Wednesday before a House panel urging the federal government to move more quickly on the cleanup.

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