Drinking water advisory lifted for city of Parchment and Cooper Township

Posted at 10:54 AM, Aug 27, 2018
and last updated 2018-08-27 18:54:42-04

PARCHMENT, Mich. -- Kalamazoo County officials said they have lifted the drinking water advisory in the city of Parchment and Cooper Township a month after record levels of PFAs, or contaminants, were found in it.

"Today is spectacular day," said Kalamazoo County Sheriff Richard Fuller during a press conference. "When we look at where we were a month ago and where we’re at today, there’s a huge difference."

The Kalamazoo County Health and Community Services Department, along with the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality and other agencies said that the Parchment water supply now meets the EPA Lifetime Health Advisory Level. They said  that the municipal drinking water now falls into EPA guidelines.

"Let me start by saying 'thank you' to the residents of Parchment Township for their patience during this," said Gov. Rick Snyder. "This is a very trying time. It took time to get information and a lot of action to happen and I do appreciate that."

On July 26, officials found high levels of PFOs and PFAs in Parchment's municipal drinking water, which are contaminants found in household products and fire-fighting foam. An advisory was immediately posted. Since then, 1,200 cases of bottled water had been distributed daily to area residents in the affected area.

"By any estimate, this has been a textbook of how to get things done," said Congressman Fred Upton. "It really has been."

Officials from several agencies also worked to switch Parchment city's water supply to Kalamazoo's. Sen. Margaret O'Brien said they've also been testing private wells including the old and abandoned paper mill, which many residents believe is the source behind the water crisis.

"We’re continuing to wait for test results to come back," said Sen. O'Brien. "There have been three different sites that have been tested including the paper mill."

Sen. O'Brien was one of the first people to inform Congressman Upton about the issue  when it first happened, he said.  Next week, when the House returns, Upton said he's  going to meet with the Energy and Commerce Committee to look at all communities to ultimately make sure everyone has safe water.

"We’re not done," he said. "We’re looking for additional input and maybe looking at additional legislation as well to make sure that every community regardless of their size is going to be safe."