Preliminary findings: chemicals found in Otsego-area wells

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ALLEGAN, Mich. —  A number of residential water wells in Allegan County –  and a couple in Kalamazoo County – have tested positive for some levels of dioxin chemical contamination.

The Allegan County Health Department says the preliminary test results were taken from 16 residential wells in the Otsego area, 14 of which are in Allegan County, and two that are in Kalamazoo County.

The Michigan Departmentof Health & Human Services (MDHHS) and Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ) apprised the Allegan and Kalamazoo county health departments of the findings.

According to the report, two dioxins were found in the wells: 2,3,7,8-tetrachlorodibenzo-p-dioxin and 2,3,7,8-tetrachlorodibenzofuran. Allegan County Health Department says further testing will be conducted for other “dioxin-like” chemicals.

Residents have expressed concern this year about the health risks associated with chemicals from local paper-mill waste that was applied to fields and roads. A grassroots group held a public meeting in July to discuss the potential threat to drinking water in Otsego.

In an effort to provide coordinated communication, the Allegan County Health Department says it will  be updating a FAQ (frequently asked questions) document by 3:00 pm, on a daily basis.  To submit a question, either call the Otsego Area Hotline phone number 269-686-4546 between 8am-8pm, or email

Residents with questions also can call the Allegan County Health Department’s Hotline – 269-686-4546 from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Or, contact the MDHHS Toxicologist at 1-800-648-6942 8 a.m. – 5p.m Monday through Friday for further information about dioxins.

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  • Kimm Miller

    It is a fact of life that there will be noxious chemicals in our water sources because we did not learn, back in the 1970’s, to keep corporate America from dumping waste willy-nilly. Because the cost of properly, and safely, disposing of waste products (it would cut into profits too much) we have allowed corporations to escape responsibility for the waste they generate. Perhaps it is now time to adopt the Precautionary Principle.

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