PFAS investigation underway at Lansing Airport

Published: Oct. 19, 2021 at 6:50 PM EDT
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Correction: A line at the beginning of the article originally said “...could potentially have contaminated drinking water”. For clarity, that has been changed to “...could have potentially have contaminated local drinking water sources.”

LANSING, Mich. (WILX) - The Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy added the Lansing Capital Region International Airport to its list of places that could potentially have contaminated local drinking water sources after PFAS material was found near and on airport property.

Perfluoroalkyl and Polyfluoroalkyl substances, or PFAS, have been connected to various health issues including some cancers, liver damage and decreased fertility. It is a chemical found in a variety of places in the environment. Rebecca Jordan, from Michigan State University’s Department of Community Sustainability, says that PFAS are often found on airport grounds.

“The foam that is used to fight fires and the type of fire that occurs at airports,” Jordan said. “Gas fires and things like that you want to put out fast. The really effective foam, that has a lot of this type of chemical.”

According to the airport, fire-retardant foam containing PFAS was used to put out a fire of a plane crash in August of this year. In a statement made on behalf of the Capital Region Airport Authority, the airport said they are aware of PFAS on their property and believe there is no immediate risk to human health.

Jordan agrees and says that just because it’s there doesn’t mean humans are drinking it.

“Given that you’ve learned that the Lansing airport used this foam, and it’s in the area water, that doesn’t necessarily mean that’s where your drinking water is coming from,” Jordan said.

The airport says that residential sampling was conducted by EGLE in May of 2021. The wells checked did not contain PFAS.

The airport also told News 10 they submitted a work plan for additional sampling locations to address the potential impact of PFAS located on their property.

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