Dioxin found in one Otsego city well; private well results pending

OTSEGO, Mich. — The city of Otsego says small levels of the pollutant dioxin were found in one of its three municipal wells.

The wells were tested earlier this month after residents’ concerns when the Allegan County Health Department reported dioxin in 17 private wells in the county.

In a release Friday night, City Manager Aaron Mitchell said that one of the city’s three municipal wells had a dioxin result of 0.092 parts per quadrillion. He added that that is well below the 12 ppq threshold from the Environmental Protective Agency.

No dioxins were measured in the other two municipal wells, Mitchell said.

Preliminary testing on 20 private wells in the Otsego area, 17 in Allegan County and three in Kalamazoo County, previously showed the presence of dioxins. The Allegan County Health Department says a total of 56 private wells were tested.  Full results were supposed to be available Friday, but the department says that state testing is not yet finished.

Otsego 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. The community advocacy group Justice for Otsego has been calling on state and federal officials to investigate the cause of a cancer cluster in the community.

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