A Howell Township man running for a seat on the Livingston County Board of Commissioners says that Livingston County needs to move swiftly to get on top of the PFAS contamination crisis.

Democrat Alex Hansen issued a letter Monday calling on the Livingston County Board of Commissioners to begin an investigation into the extent of contamination in the county after it was reported that more than 11,300 sites statewide could be contaminated by perfluoroalkyls, more commonly known as PFAS. That number was part of a presentation by the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality made to the Michigan Environmental Compliance Conference in Lansing last month on PFAS contamination. Once commonly used in firefighting foam, nonstick surfaces, stain guards and other commercial and industrial applications, PFAS is an emerging contaminant of concern, as it persists for long periods in the environment and can be harmful to human health.

Hansen said last week’s order by the DEQ that two communities in the Kalamazoo area stop drinking municipal water due to PFAS contamination struck close to home as that’s where his parents and other family members live. He says that the list of potentially contaminated sites “exploded” with the latest information released from the DEQ and he called on the board to require the Livingston County Public Health Department to survey existing businesses, fire departments, and airports to determine which entities have used PFAS-containing chemicals and to examine the MDEQ data to find sites of possible contamination in the county.

Hansen is running to represent County Commission District 5, which covers the city of Howell and Cohoctah and Howell townships. That district is currently represented by Republican Donald S. Parker, who also serves as Chair of the county board. Parker tells WHMI that he has asked both the County Administrator and the Director of the Livingston County Health Department to look into the issue. (JK)