KALAMAZOO COUNTY, Mich. -- Two West Michigan communities are still dealing with high PFAS levels in their water supply. On Tuesday evening, around a thousand people from Parchment and Cooper Township attended a town hall meeting at Haven Reformed Church in Kalamazoo to voice their concerns to a panel of experts.
“The big question is, 'How long has it been there?'" asked Sherry Nufer, who lives near Parchment.
Officials made the announcement of high levels of the contaminant on Thursday. Since then, a state of emergency was declared for Kalamazoo County.
"We’ve been drinking this water for 51 years," said Daniel DeGraw, the former mayor of Parchment. "And I don’t know how long this stuff has been in there.”
An expert from the health department said PFAS has been linked to several health issues including cancer.
"I hope moving forward we can resolve this quickly and get back to doing things normally in our city,” said DeGraw.
Meanwhile, residents received bottled water while officials look for a long-term fix.
"We’re seeing very quick action, from the testing process to water distribution to evaluating a new permanent water source, " said Lt. Governor Brian Calley. “My role here is to make sure that if there’s any obstacles or roadblocks to progress going forward are broken down as fast as possible.”
Now, testing is reportedly being done for private wells to check for contaminants.
“First and foremost, the role of Kalamazoo County Health and Community Services is to protect the public’s health,” said Nufer.
Officials are also reminding residents to give their pets bottled water.
Shipments of bottled water will continue to be delivered to Parchment High School every Monday, Wednesday and Friday. If you have questions concerning the water issue call the county hotline at (269) 373-5346.