PARCHMENT, Mich. — Dozens of residents drove to Parchment High School to pick up two free cases of bottled water over the weekend. They rushed in after they were told two days ago that the municipal water was not safe to drink.
“They’re giving out water for us, for us to drink and even to cook with," said Rica Perez while sitting in her car. "It helps us a lot."
City and state officials announced Thursday that the water had high levels of PFAs in its system. They're currently using Kalamazoo City's water system to flush out Parchment's water.
"They say my wells could possibly be contaminated, " said Cooper Township resident Marvin Rutger. "They gave me some water just in case."
Officials said they've already begun sampling the water to figure out exactly where the PFAs are coming from and what's the source behind them. State Senator Margaret O'Brien said the investigation is a joint effort between city, state and federal agencies.
"We are working furiously around the clock," Sen. O’Brien said. "I just really appreciate the thoughtfulness of the residents of the city of parchment and Cooper Township."
In a press release, the City of Parchment stated that 5,000 cases of bottled water had been given away on Friday. Another 2500 were passed out the following day. Vern Johnson, the environmental health director with Kalamazoo County, said they'll be giving away the water for as long as necessary.
“We’re not going anywhere,” said Johnson. "If bottled is needed we’re going to be here.”
Residents were allowed to pick up additional cases of water after they've run out of the first two. Sen. O'Brien provided a recycling bin for drivers to put the empty bottles in should they return. She encourages anyone who may have questions about the water issues to attend Tuesday's 5 p.m. Town Hall at Haven Reformed Church on Sprinkle Road.
"Keep asking questions 'cause there’s no such thing as a bad question," she said. "Let us know because we are connecting those with the experts. But also at the forum Tuesday night we hope to have some of the answers."