Drinking Water Wells PFAS Contamination, Wurtsmith AFB

DLZ wanted to evaluate the impact of PFAS on drinking water wells downgradient of the former Wurtsmith Air Force Base. For that purpose, we collected water from the kitchen tap in over 100 homes in the vicinity. DLZ staff briefed each homeowner of the potentially harmful, long-term health effects of the chemicals if present in high concentrations. We also informed the residents that they would not have to pay for the required analysis.

All but one exceeded the Preliminary Health Advisory concentrations issued by EPA (200 ppt for PFOS [perfluoroalkyl sulfonate] and 400 ppt for PFOA [perfluoroalkyl octanoic acid]). DLZ provided the results to the Air Force, and they, in turn, connected the resident to municipal water at no cost to the resident.

Every well sampled in the first round of sampling had PFAS contamination below the applicable EPA Health Advisory values. The local Health Department, in conjunction with MDHHS (Michigan Department of Health and Human Services), provided either of these alternative water sources:

  • A water cooler with a five-gallon bottle of water
  • An under-the-sink filtration system with the first set of filters

Additional drinking water samples were collected from other residents in the area to determine the extent of contamination off-base. Nearly every well sampled had low concentrations of PFAS. These findings resulted in DLZ performing additional drinking water well sampling and groundwater sampling. All residents were offered either the water cooler or the under-the-sink filtration system at no cost to the homeowner.




Local and State Governments


Oscoda, Michigan