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 MLive.com 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.”
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.
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.