Ford airport to test neighbors' wells for PFAS

CASCADE TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WOOD) -- Tests found PFAS, a likely carcinogen, in groundwater at the Gerald R. Ford International Airport, but at levels below state limits for drinking, airport officials announced on Friday.

The airport started the investigation in response to a Target 8 report on the decades-old use of firefighting foam.

A consultant working for the airport found levels ranging from 2.7 parts per trillion to 54 ppt of PFAS in test wells.

The state limit for drinking water is 70 ppt, though a federal health agency has suggested that limit should be lowered to 12 ppt.

The airport's highest PFAS level was at a well near the old firefighting training site, at the northeast corner of the Ford. That's where firefighters trained with PFAS-tainted foam until the late 1990s.

The airport said it will reach out to some neighbors by the end of June to start testing private wells.

Airport officials said they will continue to work with the state Department of Environmental Quality and the Kent County Health Department.

“We pride ourselves on being good neighbors and we are committed to going above and beyond regulatory requirements,” Airport President and CEO Jim Gill said. “To us, it is worth taking the extra steps on behalf of the community.”

There are about 400 homes between the airport and the Thornapple River, most with well water.

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