Contaminated water found at Alpena training center

The Alpena Combat Readiness Training Center recently became the third military base in Michigan to test positive for perfluorinated compounds (PFCs) in the groundwater.

This week, I attended a public meeting at the Alpena training center, where state environmental and health agency officials and military officials informed residents of the problem and answered questions from the public about the contamination. We had a large turnout from area residents, and this is only the first of many meetings and steps to come.

As with the earlier issue near the former Wurtsmith Air Force Base, this contamination was caused by chemicals in a firefighting material used many years ago. Unfortunately, many bases and airports used this same firefighting material, so Alpena probably won’t be the last location that will face this contamination issue.

The safety of the water we give to our children to drink is critically important to all Michigan families. We must find the best way to deal with the short- and long-term impacts of these contaminations. In the meantime, we will do everything we can to make sure affected residents are aware of the problem and give them options for a safe and clean alternate water supply.

I want to thank officials from Alpena Township and the city of Alpena for promptly setting up safe water stations and the district health department and local businesses for providing clean containers for the water. I also want to thank Col. Roberts and all our troops for their support and their efforts on this issue.

We will continue to take proactive steps to support affected residents and those working to provide solutions. For more information, visit www.michigan.gov/AlpenaPFASresponse or call 1-800-662-9278.