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Former Air Force Base Contaminates Oscoda Water


Water contamination is a major concern in Michigan, and Oscoda residents are feeling that concern heighten, after toxic chemical plumes were discovered spreading through the area’s groundwater.

This may be the first time many people are hearing about the issue, but Oscoda residents have been dealing with it since it was announced in February last year.

The contamination comes from per and poly–fluoroalkyl substances or PFA’s, which are a group of chemicals used in fire fighting foam. PFA’s have been embraced as an extremely useful tool for firefighters, and defense crews, but now it’s looking like those same chemicals may have leaked from the former Wurtsmith Air Force Base nearby, endangering clean drinking water.

Last night, local, state and federal agencies appeared at a town hall meeting in Oscoda to update the community on steps being taken to identify what exactly the contamination means.

“At the time we started the contamination was not fully understood or controlled, the contamination is still not fully understood or controlled. We’re getting there, but it does take time and it does take a lot of sampling efforts, readjusting where we need to focus on areas,” said MDHHS Toxicologist Christina Bush.

Many residents requested testing for the contamination be done to identify if their region or well had been affected. Bob Delaney, the Environmental Quality Specialist of Environmental Quality said before that can happen, they need to isolate affected areas.

At this time, the latest testing shows nearly all of the drinking water wells tested near the base have been below the health advisory levels.