Parchment will begin using Kalamazoo water – once State gives approval
KALAMAZOO, Mich. — The City of Parchment recently was connected to the Kalamazoo city water system, but it’s not safe yet for Parchment residents to drink from the municipal water supply. Testing is still underway, after high levels of PFAS were found last month – around 20 times greater than limits stipulated in an EPA health advisory.
Kalamazoo Deputy City manager Jeff Chamberlain tells FOX 17 the cities are waiting for final approval from the State of Michigan before giving the go-ahead.
“They’re doing additional testing for residual chemicals, and making sure the (system) flushing is working the way it was supposed to work. Meanwhile, (Parchment) residents are still on bottled water.”
The Parchment and Kalamazoo city commissions approved one-year contracts at their respective meetings Monday night.
“The water is already hooked up,” says Chamberlain. “But this just formalizes the agreement. It’s technically a one-year contract (for potable water), but it could turn into a long-term solution. But we need to make sure people have water right now. That’s why we’re taking this interim step.”
Chamberlain says the City of Parchment agreed to pay $300,000 to cover the cost for all of the recent hookup costs. He says it’ll cost an estimated $216,000 for Kalamazoo to provide water to Parchment, which the City of Kalamazoo will bill to the City of Parchment. Parchment will pass that cost along to its residents – as well as some Cooper Township customers – in the form of regular water bills. More than 3,000 residents were told in late July to stop using the water for drinking purposes.
Governor Rick Snyder toured sites Sunday where free water was being distributed at Parchment High School. Other dignitaries have toured the water system, and a Town Hall meeting was held July 31 in Kalamazoo.
Exposure to PFAS (perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances) at high levels has been linked to kidney disorders, cancer, thyroid disease and other health-related problems.