LANSING, Mich. (AP) — State legislators on Wednesday quickly approved spending $23.2 million to address what state regulators said is an emerging problem of drinking water contamination caused by chemicals used in firefighting foams, cleaning products and industrial applications.
Contamination from per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, or PFAS, has been identified in 14 Michigan communities. It recently has drawn intense scrutiny north of Grand Rapids, where footwear company Wolverine World Wild dumped waste sludge decades ago, and at or nearby multiple military bases.
The funding, included in a $52.8 million supplemental budget bill, would pay for response efforts, lab equipment, water sampling and other functions. Fifteen new state employees would be hired to help.
“We have no greater responsibility than to protect the public health of our constituents,” said Rep. Chris Afendoulis, a Republican from Grand Rapids Township.